Engineering Specifications Management| Digital transformation for 2nd and 3rd tier suppliers

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Project Overview

This project was developed as a general solution for 2nd and 3rd suppliers, companies who develops materials and components for 1st tier suppliers in automotive industry.

Process to be improved:

  • back-office employee collect customer requirements regarding a new component / material needed to be supplied
  • customer requirements are merged with internal product characteristics to define product and process characteristics, which needs specific approvals by different employees
  • in the end the new component/ product is transferred to manufacturing

Actual process is based on a hard copy form which is performing a loop through different departments for review/ approval, then it is stored in a folder.

Customer requirements process

Due to actual issue(s), became mandatory implementation of a new system which has to:

  • allows remote product characteristics definition/ review and approval
  • provide an easy way to find and retrieve product characteristics list
  • automatically alerting system when the flows are not closed in a specific period of time

A project was initiated with the main goal: to perform the digital transformation of engineering specifications definition and the cross-approval process by deploying an easy to be used digital tool.

Implementation

 Omnium Team has performed the following activities:

  • Process review – identification of approval flows
    • Identify unnecessary activities and remove them from process
  • Plan digital tools development
    • definition of use case, software structure
  • Develop software solution
  • Fine tuning and improvement

As a general rule, Omnium Team works closely with key representative from customer manufacturing site during such implementations. This way of work is needed to customise this solution, due the fact that each company has its own process.

Results

The application was developed in a lean way – to be easily used. The main interface allows users to quickly perform their tasks:

Application main interface
TSM Main interface

Workflow initiation

To initiate a part/ material workflow is very easy: just access Getting started area then fill Start Workflow form:

Initiate workflow
Initiate workflow

We recommend to pass this role to back-office or equivalent (customer technical interface).

One important specification (category) to be defined is the “Special Characteristics” column. According IATF 16949, a special characteristic is “classification of a product characteristic or manufacturing process parameter that can affect safety or compliance with regulations, fit, function, performance, requirements, or subsequent processing of product”. Such characteristics are (generally) defined by OEM and cascade throughput supply chain. Our digital tool provide supplementary functions for correct management of such characteristics.

Following the workflow initiation, involved users are notified by email to work on workflow update/ approval.

Workflows approval process

Following previous process step the approval is performed by each responsible according predefined tasks. There is a main sections which shows workflows summary:

Workflow approval interface

By accessing Open Workflow hyperlink, users enters in product definition interface:

  • Update defined characteristics
  • Upload related documents
  • Approve their workflow

Special characteristics repository

This interface provides access to a matrix: part – special characteristic:

Special characteristics repository

This interface displays a list of special characteristics including customer-customer part number. There is a special function : upload related document who implements special characteristic control method. This is very important taken in consideration IATF requirements regarding control of special characteristics.

The utilisation of this digital tools is documented in online user manual, interfaces which allows quick access to main functions description:

Online user manual content

Conclusion

By using this solution, our customers has mitigated the risk of not controlling the definition, checking, implementation and approval of Engineering specifications.

In the end, this solution increases also the company ability to control this process when employees are working from home.

Not, at last, such software as part of customer/ certification body audits was audited with positive conclusions.