Auto assembly and mfg. logistics

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I would like to get some assembly plant discussion going. I have always pondered the amazing amounts of components that must go into the back doors of one of these plants. Although it's high on my list of things to do when I retire I have not had the opportunity to tour one. Parts like tires, wheels, windows, transmissions and on and on must come to these plants by the train load each day to fulfill the daily needs. Is there by chance anyone in here that can shed light on this challenging logistics nightmare?
 
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The source I am reading from says GM sold just shy of 1 million trucks last year. Taking duallys out of the equation that's 5 million tires and rims how many tires can one fit in one train car?
 
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Originally Posted by P10crew
The source I am reading from says GM sold just shy of 1 million trucks last year. Taking duallys out of the equation that's 5 million tires and rims how many tires can one fit in one train car?
If it's a clown car, a lot....
 
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I have worked in manufacturing companies for many years. For the components that flow to the manufacturing lines at the proper place and time, there are 2 major concepts: 1) Material Requirements Planning aka MRP (based on the Bills of Material); Manufacturing Resource Planning aka MRP2 (adds operations planning). 2) Just in Time aka JIT, which pushes much of the planning back to the vendor. In reality, companies do all these badly. Especially in complex, custom products. Materials generally account for 80% or more of Accounts Payable in an manufacturing company.
 
I worked on the line at Chrysler Windsor Assy. (Canada) in "body in white" in 1964/65. We were building a unit every 54 seconds and we did every model from a Valiant 2dr to a Chrysler New Yorker convertible and everything in-between. We did not build the Imperial in Windsor Ontario at that time. No two identical vehicles came down the line one after another, they were totally mixed up. One car was a Barracuda 273, the next car was a valiant 4dr 225, the next was a Fury station wagon 383, the next a Chrysler 4 dr hardtop, we did right and left hand drive etc etc etc .... Talk about flex manufacturing. Talk about logistics and planning. Talk about a pile of parts !! I saw bodies come together with a 2dr gate on 1 side and a 4dr gate on the other (Gate line - body in white) and a station wagon roof coming onto a 2dr sedan etc We had some messes to clean up I saw a lot of really cool cars from '64-'73 cool
 
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I used to go into Ford's engine plant in Lima OH. It's a large, convoluted complex with multiple buildings built and added on over many decades. Anyway, this facility did have a "main" receiving area where general material came in (including material not used in the final products). It also had dozens of receiving docks all around the building. Just making examples, but say at dock # 1, engine block castings were delivered. At dock # 10, spark plugs were delivered. At dock # 15, coolant and engine oil were delivered. See the concept ? Another example is Setex in St Mary's OH. They made .... seats and exclusively for Honda's assembly facility in Marysville OH. Their production was dictated by the assembly plans at Honda to the point where Honda needed "x" of seat assemblies in Ivory, "y" assemblies in Gray, and "z" assemblies in Black. They would produce them and deliver them and within 1 day, they were installed in a vehicle rolling off of the assembly line.
 
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Originally Posted by Papa Bear
Talk about flex manufacturing.
Since you mention "flex manufacturing", another bit of info related to Honda and Ford.... Honda engine plant in Anna OH reportedly can produce one engine design for a half-shift (4 hours) and while the employees, errr, "associates", take their lunch break, convert over to produce a different engine design. The Ford reference goes back to their engine plant in Lima where changing production of engine types (used to) take months. The plant would mostly shut down while equipment was changed over, replaced, etc. The line workers were "laid off" but was effectively a couple month vacation as they were still paid 75+% of their regular wage. This wasn't a yearly occurrence either as they would produce the same engine for years.
 
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Originally Posted by P10crew
Wow. And they run 24-7?
Honda or Ford ? Answer to both is "yes". The info on Setex might be slightly inaccurate as what I recall being told was a seat produced in the morning (say during 1st shift, 6am to 2pm), was transported and installed into a vehicle even quicker, like during Honda's afternoon half of 1st shift or maybe during their 2nd shift, i.e. the seats were in a car 8-12 hours after they were made.
 
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Originally Posted by P10crew
I suppose there were job shops all around the area of a plant as well?
In Lima, not so much or not that I'm aware of. Dana has a plant there that makes U-joints. That's all, just u-joints, 3 shifts a day. The M1A1 Abrams tank is made there as well. There's also a large P&G facility that makes Tide (and other) laundry detergent. There were many, many shops that worked with P&G though. The bottling/packaging equipment was built locally by a relatively small (at the time) machine builder shop.
 
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Interesting! I've been kinda studying up on the lost foam, precision sand casting process that gm is using for blocks and heads and would really like to see one of those plants.
 
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Originally Posted by hallstevenson
Originally Posted by P10crew
I suppose there were job shops all around the area of a plant as well?
In Lima, not so much or not that I'm aware of. Dana has a plant there that makes U-joints. That's all, just u-joints, 3 shifts a day. The M1A1 Abrams tank is made there as well. There's also a large P&G facility that makes Tide (and other) laundry detergent. There were many, many shops that worked with P&G though. The bottling/packaging equipment was built locally by a relatively small (at the time) machine builder shop.
When I worked at a Honda dealer, I saw a weird sticker with the radio codes that said Great Lakes Assemblies, LLC. They are a logistics provider affiliated with Honda that assembled the interiors and wheel/tire sets and shipped them to their Marysville plant pre-sequenced for a particular model. The Accords came with a kanban sheet that had the codes for all the equipment installed, time of assembly, VIN and the next car for that particular batch. https://midwestexpinc.com/
 
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I have nearly 30 yrs experience with GM, worked in multiple plants and thru several roles and responsibilities. Currently at the most profitable GM plant - the Arlington Texas plant building all the large SUV's including Escalade..... I can probably answer all your questions lol
 
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I live close to the GM truck plant in Fort Wayne. There's semis going in and out of that thing 24/7 and rely on the supplier to time things accordingly. Lean manufacturing. They don't want inventory (tied up money). IIRC, they are penalized whenever they hold up production by not delivering on time. I get it but at the same time it annoys me. When they were on their strike, they took everybody down with them. I would assume the suppliers are compensated accordingly.
 
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Above nthach used a term "kanban". I remember reading that one years ago. I remember it being a Japanese word for "delivering parts in time with the assembly line". Darned efficient language that Japanese! The book "Getting the Bugs Out" (highly recommended by me) is the history of the Volkswagen. It's an engaging read. The author mentioned parts' shipping containers strewn in a parking lot. The employees had to go out and fetch their parts. 'Twas a complete absence of organization. The VW in those years was surpassed in BAD QUALITY by only Alfa-Romeo. ps Anyone who says, "Hitler designed the Volkswagen" is off the mark.
 
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Kanban now refers to lean manufacturing and JIT process. Originally it referred to delivering materials to the mfg line in a specialized box and "kanban" cards. Rather than bringing, say 36 pieces of a material, a box was built with 36 (or whatever) compartments. Workers did not have to count; they just filled the box and delivered it to the line. When materials were needed on the line, a worker pulled a "kanban" card to signal the need.
 
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Originally Posted by P10crew
I suppose there were job shops all around the area of a plant as well?
Absolutely, especially in high tech. In Silicon Valley, there were more machine shops and tool and die shops than anywhere in the world. These shops delivered the specialized parts to the SEMI business. I am not sure this is still true, as much of the actual mfg has moved out of the area. Another example is GM/NUMMI/Tesla plant in Fremont, CA. NUMMI was the largest employer in Fremont. When they shut down, the local economy took a big hit. Right down to local restaurant jobs.
 
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A good example of the buildup of the system is going on right now at MTMUS Alabama. Not only is the assembly plant in the finishing stages but the suppliers are also locating plants nearby.
 
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Originally Posted by P10crew
I suppose there were job shops all around the area of a plant as well?
The Dayton OH area definitely had this 2nd-tier industry due to the amount of auto-related factories. At one time, there was GM - Moraine assembly, made things from the S-10 pickup to SUVs (closed - now Fuyao Glass) Delco/Delphi - 2 factories making brake components (both closed), 1 making airbag components (?), 1 making suspension (now owned by Tenneco) Chrysler - 1 facility makes heating/cooling bits (now owned by Mahle) Some of those employed thousands of workers, by the way.
Originally Posted by P10crew
I have not had the opportunity to tour one.
Just so you know, the majority aren't going to offer any type of "tours".
 
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