Win new, profitable opportunities, design to value, deliver on target
Managing quality, regulations and costs is a struggle
The many quality, regulation and cost (QRC) challenges faced by vehicle innovators come from needing to meet the expectations of regulators and customers, reduce their impact to the environment and keep profitability considerations in check. These divergent goals only complicate what automakers are driven to do: To infuse quality into every facet of the vehicle production process. However, managing quality from end to end is easier said than done. For example, one decision to improve cost efficiency may reduce vehicle quality, whereas a new feature might further push costs up, affecting affordability.
Vehicle innovators know that effective and efficient quality management requires quality to be inherent across the value chain and throughout every stage of the automotive product lifecycle. At the same time, they need to stay within many regulatory constraints, which constantly change at regional and global levels — not forgetting the many safety requirements that need to be incorporated to ensure vehicle quality.
3D modeling and simulation of both product and process is critical. Most manufacturers are using some level of 3D modeling and simulation for product design and engineering. But comparatively few are using 3D modeling and simulation to define, test and improve their manufacturing processes across robots, cells and lines in virtual replications of their actual factories. I would argue that one without the other — 3D modeling and simulation — only has a marginally positive impact on the goal of profitable, flexible and responsive operations.
Deploy true total quality management to meet divergent goals
The core idea of optimization — the reduction of waste and increase in efficiency — is the preferred strategy to address this. But, then, the question is: Optimization of business processes within which framework?
Total Quality Management (TQM), as it is understood, suggests the blueprint for companies to find and monitor this QRC balance point. TQM practices allow automotive OEMs to embed quality decisions into every aspect of each stakeholder’s work as well as make quality checkpoints and processes transparent to all – within the organization as well as to partners and suppliers. The goal of TQM is satisfied customers, starting, of course, with the end consumer, but also including governments, regulatory agencies, shareholders and community members impacted by a product’s regular use.
Unfortunately, when it comes to execution, many vehicle innovators deploy point solutions across the enterprise in an attempt to achieve TQM. This does not provide true end-to-end digital continuity, and does not provide an authentic TQM experience. The implementation of TQM cannot occur in silos; it must be part of a broader digital transformation initiative to be effective.
The best way to achieve this is by adopting an innovation platform that connects all stakeholders and, thereby, enables true digital continuity across the organization to efficiently implement and drive quality.
By automating the prototype testing process with virtual simulation, we are able to help customers reduce 10 percent of their annual costs. When testing, simulation and prototyping can cost up to €1 billion for some manufacturers, that 10 percent saving constitutes €100 million in ROI through Dassault Systèmes’ virtual simulation capability.
Experiencing the best balance in quality, regulations and cost
TQM becomes an authentic experience — and not a burden — when the right innovation platform becomes an integral part of the business. Imagine being able to establish digital continuity from ideation to delivery, regardless of geography. This level of transparency and efficiency delivers key benefits to a vehicle innovator, which are that it:
- keeps the right individuals aware of what’s going on throughout the value chain
- fosters communication between teams
- enables the sharing of information and data seamlessly
- simplifies costly prototyping
- speeds up alterations and validation before vehicles go to market
In short, vehicle innovators can design in quality and compliance from the start, at lower cost.
At a time when mobility is transitioning to smarter, more automated vehicles, the confidence to pursue costly ventures, research and development is a key differentiator between a market leader and follower. With the right platform, vehicle innovators can be confident to accelerate profitable new opportunities while infusing quality into every step of the process in full compliance with global and local requirements.