Browse Publications Technical Papers 1999-01-0252

Beyond APQP, A Simplified Integrated Project Management System for Automotive Suppliers 1999-01-0252

The relationship between automotive companies and suppliers is changing. The suppliers are required to demonstrate and provide increased responsibility for the design, development, prototyping and final production of parts. The supplier is asked to do more project management with extensive coordination, sourcing, qualifications and all at lower costs. Suppliers need to demonstrate their ability to perform all these tasks on time, on budget, and with high quality successful launches. However, they are more diversified, have remote location of plants, and multiple customers. There is a great need for a standardized simplified process that will work across all product lines and assure operations are profitable.
A simplified standardized project/program management system was developed to specifically focus on the automotive sector. This system focuses on four key elements: 1) segmentation of the activities into phases, 2) an expert set of deliverables, 3) a rigorous review process and 4) a user-friendly comprehensive electronic data base.
The segmentation or phases are based on the complexity of the business. These phases range from initial assessment of the project to launch and continuous improvement. The quantity of phases is based on the needs of the business and can range from as little as four to as many as twelve. A method for determining the exact segmentation requirements will be discussed in detail.
An expert set of deliverables is developed for all requirements that address the customer, the business, manufacturing, quality, and profitability. This system no only protects the customers’ parts but the profitability and cash flow of the business. Too often the suppliers provide excellent components and parts to their customers only to make marginal profits. A methodology will be shown of how to select, combine, define, and maximize deliverables to establish a critical set that will guarantee successful launches.
No system will succeed unless accountability and responsibilities are clearly defined. This system has specific checkpoints, phase reviews and individual accountability reviews by the executive team at critical predefined points in the process. Guidelines for these review requirements will be provided.
Ease of use is critical to the success of a project management system so that a wide range of personnel can use the system. The database provides an easy way to use and analyze the information. The database contains the details about the deliverables, a methodology to select them for the job, and a way to track to successful completion. This was accomplished thorough the use of Microsoft ACCESS and will be demonstrated.
This system has been implemented in several major automotive suppliers in the area of fiberglass components, seating, and sunroofs. Real life examples will be discussed to show the impact the system has had on streamlining project management. Examples from manufacturing, quality, and marketing will dramatically show the impact of this system to enhance business and meet the changing needs for automotive suppliers in the 21st century.


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