How real-time production data can improve cutting room performance

Automotive suppliers need to increase efficiency and reduce costs to remain competitive. Production data can play a critical role in identifying ways to unlock productivity and increase profitability.

For automotive suppliers, traditional profit margin dynamics are changing

A study by management consultancy Bain & Company suggests that OEM profit margins have exceeded their suppliers’ margins since the global pandemic and subsequent crises. As a result, automotive suppliers face increased pressure from ongoing supply chain issues, unprecedented inflation and an intensified need to reduce costs. Higher material and energy costs are especially challenging for suppliers to contend with, as these costs can be passed on to their OEM customers only in part. Worse yet, further economic contraction is likely to trigger a decline in demand, as well as rising costs and falling prices.


Data are revolutionizing decision-making in manufacturing

In this challenging environment, data visualization and analytics can play a critical role in increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and unlocking productivity and profitability. Real-time production data are revolutionizing decision-making in the manufacturing industry. Manufacturers are gradually leveraging industrial data to gain insight from their production performance, to make informed decisions faster, as well as enable organization-wide automation.
Innovative use of manufacturing data holds tremendous potential for the global manufacturing industry as a whole. With the power of real-time machine connectivity, data-driven decision making can provide businesses with valuable insight to: 

The use of real-time production data is giving automotive suppliers an edge

The automotive industry currently faces a complex set of market dynamics: rising material and logistics costs, slashed budgets, changing consumer expectations, and challenges meeting sustainability goals. In this context, improving efficiency across the end-to-end value chain has become a strategic priority for carmakers and their supplier ecosystems.
Industry 4.0 technologies are already allowing many automotive companies to achieve incremental improvements and increase competitiveness. Data visualization make it possible to draw business insight from manufacturing processes and streamline production with synchronized, flexible and fast processes.
By harnessing the insight of manufacturing data, suppliers can improve their production times, productivity and quality. In the long term, real-time figures on production performance can also help suppliers achieve manufacturing excellence to support digital transformation and ensure operational success across multiple facilities.


Powerful analytics bring greater efficiency and cost savings to the cutting room

An optimized manufacturing process is key to succeeding in an environment as competitive as the automotive seating and interiors industry. In the automotive cutting room, suppliers can maximize material efficiency by analyzing their cutting room data to improve cutting performance and productivity. Powerful automated monitoring and analytics enable access to actionable data in real time to make critical business decisions, even at remote locations. This makes it possible to track key indicators to benchmark production performance and apply best practices to achieve continuous improvement.
An early adopter of cutting room analytics, high-end seating systems manufacturer Tesca Group needed to harmonize reporting methodologies, measurements, parameters, and best practices across 16 manufacturing facilities located worldwide. Tesca’s Alexandra de Oliveira, Innovation Leader for Cut and Sew and Leather Manager, plays a key role in coordinating the first two facilities at her company to implement a data analytics solution enabling real-time monitoring and continuous improvement. According to de Oliveira, the data analytics solution makes it easier to identify, define and launch improvement initiatives with the teams in the plants. To date, the real-time monitoring solution has enabled faster, more efficient data retrieval and analysis resulting in a 3.5 % reduction in materials and 2% increase in cutting capacity. This improved productivity has had a positive impact on profitability while at the same time streamlining operations.
“Production is always changing,” observes de Oliveira. “In addition to new programs, we also receive revised product specifications from customers. We introduce new materials. We have new operators joining the company and new plants to ramp-up. All of these changes must be monitored and managed with a continuous improvement-oriented approach that’s now simplified."

Find out how to capitalize on your production data to improve efficiency in the automotive cutting room.