Reconfiguring Maintenance to Increase Throughput


Doing more for less is becoming the new corporate mantra across the globe as business leaders are challenged to find smarter and more efficient ways of working. SIMUL8 helped GM do exactly this. By developing smarter maintenance rules GM increased throughput by 5% to meet an increase in demand, without increasing costs.



General Motors

Key Facts

  • GM Holden increased throughput by 5% to meet demand without increasing costs



  • Discovered removing excess system carriers actually increased capacity in the line

  • Redistributed maintenance to improve uptime at critical bottlenecked areas



  • Experimented with their ideas in a risk free environment to find best solution


"We increased throughput without increasing overheads. Using SIMUL8 lets us stay flexible when planning resource to cope with demand fluctuations."

Joy Boath, Virtual Manufacturing Engineer, GM Holden


The Challenge

GM Holden, a subsidiary of GM, is Australia's largest automotive company and is GM’s niche manufacturer of rear wheel drive 6 & 8 cylinder vehicles. This includes all production processes through plastics component manufacturing, stamping, sheet metal and body fabrication, paint and vehicle assembly.

"Vehicle manufacturing is a highly competitive industry and we need to remain flexible to cope with fluctuations in demand. SIMUL8 has been a highly effective tool for us in achieving that flexibility."

Joy Boath, Virtual Manufacturing Engineer, GM Holden

The Result

GM Holden created a virtual simulation of their assembly line. They replicated the increase in demand, and the simulation let them visually see where bottlenecks would build up. With the simulation they could quickly experiment with different ways to remove the bottlenecks and increase throughput and assess the impact of their ideas.



Reducing Maintenance Costs

GM Holden found that redistributing maintenance resource to improve uptime at critical bottlenecked areas was most effective. They reduced their maintenance costs and saved on the expense of hiring new production workers, allowing them to remain flexible to return to lower production rates if demand slowed down.

Decreasing capacity to increase throughput

The real bonus came in discovering that an excess of carriers in the system was actually causing a blocked effect. Removing 2 carriers actually increased throughput by 5%. These carriers could then be used for spares, further improving production rates.

GM's next SIMUL8 project

SIMUL8 continues to be a highly effective tool for GM Holden. They are planning on using it to help with the introduction of a second car line, which will introduce two new body styles and associated variants. SIMUL8 will also be used to help plan out the third shift re-introduction.

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