Magneti Marelli automates processes for collecting, analyzing, and processing WCM Cost Deployment data at the global level
Magneti Marelli is an international group that designs and produces high-tech systems and components for the automotive sector. The group employs over 34,000 people and has 83 production units, 12 research centers, and 26 application centers. It is present in 18 countries and serves the largest automakers in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia.
For several years, Magneti Marelli has implemented the World Class Manufacturing (WCM) system to drive continuous improvement of production methods and efficiency. One of the pillars of the WCM concept is Cost Deployment: continuous monitoring of loss/inefficiencies in the production process. This pillar involves hundreds of people, distributed throughout the world, who every year track and analyze millions of items related to “waste” in production processes.
With the goal of optimizing cost management according to the WCM model, Magneti Marelli turned to NIER Soluzioni Informatiche and NEXT Software Solutions to develop an IT system capable of managing these analyses.
The most critical aspects of the project were:
- The need to analyze substantial volumes of data loaded into the system from different European locations, requiring complex work to optimize synchronization.
- Management and analysis of financial data, collected in dozens of different currencies and converted at runtime to allow cross-sectional analysis.
- Creation and continuous maintenance of user interfaces in six different languages, including Chinese.
- Creation of particularly simple and intuitive user interfaces to support entry of complex and structured data by users with very different skills and work cultures.
Any big changes to the way users work or restricting them to more standardized, and thus less flexible, data processing rules would represent a significant “risk of rejection” by the new system's end users. Therefore, the ability to create a solid, effective, and easy-to-use application was a must for the project.
The development environment chosen to create the project was Instant Developer, because it can be used to develop very complex projects and offers native support for managing multi-language interfaces.
Instant Developer allowed us to create a functionally very complex solution capable of managing different languages and currencies, quickly and cost-effectively, meeting the customer's expectations and budget. Management of user roles and configuration of user interfaces through the Run Time Configurator was a very intelligent innovation. Creating systems with multiple different access levels, which fell to me to manage, is no longer a daunting task for us.
Project manager, NEXT Software Solutions
The project, created in just 10 man-months, is now in use at the first 10 pilot locations in four different countries, and within the year it will be expanded to all planned locations. The solution, developed collaboratively by NEXT Software Solutions and NIER Soluzioni Informatiche, currently has the following features:
- It consists of a Rich Internet Application for managing configuration of the system (parameterization of algorithms, classification of losses, and definition of the complexity of the 52 locations surveyed in terms of productions lines, equipment, and OUs), loading of data from files through guided import or directly through data entry, financial transformation of inefficiencies detected, and reporting of results analyzed.
- The system is designed to initially manage all user interfaces and messaging in six different languages, and it can also manage additional languages without the need for any intervention by programmers.
- The system also partially automates information flows retrieved from thousands of machines at the different locations, making acquisition and processing fluid and efficient.
Because the project is currently still in the testing phase, the customer has not yet been able to extract and make public the applicable improvement metrics. However, the fact that the pilot project has been expanding to location after location points to the success of the solution, which has likely resulted in significant improvements in the management of production costs.