Ongoing cost pressure, new disruptive innovations such as electromobility and digitalization, stagnating market developments, climate change and global sourcing. The list could be extended at will. There are few industries to which all global megatrends apply as much as the automotive industry, and which are so fundamentally contradictory in their challenges. This can only be answered by holistic Complexity Management at all levels and in all areas of the companies. The interaction of the product range, the product architecture, the processes and the organizational structure can unfold its full potential through appropriate complexity management with all its methods and tools. There is still great potential to be exploited especially in the interaction between OEMs and suppliers.
The challenge for OEMs is to provide innovative market-oriented product diversity, while mastering internal component and process variety under pressure from ever-shorter product life cycles and capital-intensive technologies. Numerous projects have shown that sustainable complexity management approaches are essential in this regard. In many companies, the next evolutionary step in complexity management is a rethinking of their product development processes. Here the role of suppliers is increasingly coming into focus: OEMs must integrate suppliers with their capabilities and requirements even more actively and fundamentally, right from the definition of vehicle architectures.
For system suppliers and component manufacturers, one of the main challenges is to provide efficient production and logistics structures to cope with the complexity. We know from our projects, though, that the design of these structures is subject to additional drivers in the supply chain. System suppliers are additionally faced with the challenge of designing products independent of the OEM in order to maximize their own return on investment through economies of scale. To do this, they are introducing their own modular architectures making use of requirement communalities. Both supplier roles are changing from a mere provider of components to an integrated development partner for the OEMs.
At a German premium OEM, the variety of variants was analyzed and improved on the basis of exemplary vehicle assemblies: At the beginning of the project, market requirements were recorded as external diversity and the necessary internal component variance with the help of expert consultations. By using appropriate analysis tools in the Complexity Manager, candidates for potential savings could be identified. Further analyses of the design, production and logistics concept and the contract situation with suppliers made it possible to successively derive savings scenarios of several hundred thousand Euros. In addition, the procurement process was also optimized.
We improved the competitiveness of a tier 2 component supplier by reducing business complexity: The starting point for the improvement project was an analysis of the relationship between the current internal and unchangeable external business complexity in order to identify potential for reducing internal "over-complexity". Based on the analysis results, which were determined using selected complexity drivers in all business areas and processes, detailed optimization options with significant cost reductions were developed and implemented.
As a Tier 1 system supplier, a market leader for seats in the commercial vehicle sector was confronted with the challenge of having to serve a wide diversity of customer groups with correspondingly heterogeneous requirements. Starting from the market, a modular seat architecture was derived by means of market segmentation, strategic positioning, use cases and product performance system. In addition, it was also possible to raise communalities by taking into consideration the production architecture and the supply chain. With defined modules and standardized interfaces, a customer-specific solution for every requirement profile can now be derived quickly and flexibly.