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Audi Neckarsulm wins European Automotive Lean Production competition; big data, smart factory

The Audi plant in Neckarsulm will receive the Automotive Lean Production Award in the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) category. The trade magazine Automobil Produktion and the consulting company Agamus Consult award the prize each year in recognition of production facilities that apply the factors of production in a particularly efficient manner. The prize will be awarded in conjunction with the Automotive Lean Production Congress 29-30 November at the Bosch plant in Blaichach.

Audi Neckarsulm is the most complex plant in the Volkswagen Group, and processes more than 56,000 components from approximately 1,200 suppliers all over the world. The plant manufactures in accordance with the Audi Production System along the entire process chain. This is now being developed into a holistic corporate system.

With it, we interpret and define “lean” anew. By ideally combining the lean principles of the Audi Production System with the opportunities of digitization, we are moving to the next level of productivity. Big data and the advantages of data connectivity are key factors here.

—Dieter Braun, Head of Production Control and Plant Logistics at Audi Neckarsulm

The jury particularly praised the further developed string-of-pearls principle. Dr. Werner Geiger, Chief Executive of Agamus Consult: “Of the many solutions for more efficiency at the Audi plant in Neckarsulm, the string-of-pearls methodology is the highlight.

From 1.93 billion possibilities, an algorithm calculates the best sequence for each assembly line. In this way, a binding and exact car-order sequence is determined six days in advance: the string-of-pearls principle. The algorithm uses the information on ordered cars with consideration of the resulting work for the employees at all workplaces, so that they are optimally deployed.

With the further developed string of pearls, the plant manages to better control the time spreads in assembly caused by the high diversity of derivatives and equipment combinations.

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