Automotive Design and Production

APR 2018

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DIGITAL TRACE MFG we're getting more of this data, everybody is getting smarter. Now we truly understand how things work, what variation happens, how it can affect us. We've been able to implement design improvements as a result." THE BENEFITS OF INFORMATION Digital Trace Manufacturing already helps Nexteer's quality engineers confirm product quality early in the manufacturing process, "potentially eliminating the need for costly end-of-line testing," says Hoeg. Moreover, a "smart" system within DTM collects lessons learned and calibrates its decision-making accordingly. This feature helps in predicting potential manufacturing problems and leading people to solve those problems before they become reality. Along with that, the system's virtual "command center" analyzes the root cause of rejected parts, thereby pointing the way to quick, corrective actions. The command center—"for global manufacturing insights," points out Hoeg—is available anywhere, anytime within Nexteer. While the traceability system, PLM, MES and the other information systems that comprise DTM provide individual benefits, Hoeg believes "connecting all of the company's manufacturing data points into one entity" will provide more enterprise-wide benefits, such as "garner clear, real-time viewpoints of global manufacturing activities; expedite and expand continuous improvements; accelerate design-to-production timelines and enhance global collaboration across Nexteer's regions and between manu- facturing and product engineering divi- sions; optimize capacities, factory-floor logistics, inventory and planning; and enhance component traceability for advanced quality control, tracking and reporting." At the very least, Ultimately, Hoeg expects DTM will provide Nexteer with a "dynamic, comprehensive view of its manufac- turing operations in real time, which is a big payoff for our customers, employees and shareholders." to fail. It's a deeper version of what we would have seen from materials handling from years ago." Incidentally, Nexteer uses Microsoft Power BI ( powerbi. microsoft.com/en-us/ ) for analytics—again, out of the box; no tweaking. This tool, continues Hoeg, helps turn "data into something that's actionable, and then into something that makes the system smarter. We talk about 'lessons learned' and how to calibrate that into pro-active decision making. As 22

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