Leading automotive manufacturer Chrysler avoided $250,000 of capital investment by proving that the current system was able to cope with demand.
The Jefferson North Plant was experiencing some throughput issues and the plant thought that this was due to the line being short of Clamshell Carriers at the Trim Chassis Final Stage. The plant submitted a proposal to add 15 more Clamshell Carriers to the line, which would require $250,000 of investment from Chrysler.
Before the investment was made the simulation team was asked to conduct a simulation study to confirm if the line was short of Clamshell carriers.
"It doesn't take long to get results when you change the number of carriers. It takes like a few seconds, maybe less than half a minute to run the simulation and then you start to get a curve."
Steve Lin, Throughput and Simulation Specialist, Chrysler
The simulation showed that the feasible range for Clamshell Carriers on the line was between 426 and 502. Any less than 426 and any more than 502 begins to make the system less efficient and begins to have a negative impact on throughput. There were 475 Clamshell Carriers in the system already, so the simulation showed that with the current number of carriers in the simulation the system was working within the feasible range.
Not only did this simulation help ensure the correct decisions were made about capital investment at the Jefferson plant, but it will also be reused to test the number of Clamshell Carriers needed at other plants. This is one of nine plants that Chrysler operates with Clamshell Carriers, and this simulation can be used to test the number of carriers needed at any plant simply by changing the relevant data making the simulation invaluable to Chrysler.
Chrysler continue to use their simulation team across the organization to help make effective business decisions, this can be on projects ranging from pre-launch studies of new plants and lines, to how to make existing lines work more efficiently. They've even started to outsource their team to their tier 1 suppliers to ensure efficiency right through the process.