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Seven ways digitalized leather cutting can lower automotive steering wheel costs

Read on to learn seven ways digitalized leather cutting can improve operational efficiency and measurably reduce production costs, especially when an in-house leather-cutting strategy is adopted.

Market trends are currently driving demand for customized vehicle interiors, especially leather seating and trim. To satisfy this fast-growing demand and raise more revenue, manufacturers are offering high-quality customizable leather interiors at increasingly competitive prices.

While this growth is a positive development for steering wheel manufacturers, reducing operational costs has never been more important to maintain profitability. Identifying areas for improvement in everyday operations can help suppliers offset margin pressure.

 

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For leather steering wheel manufacturers, performing leather cutting in-house is one way to become more competitive. Digitalization of leather cutting and related reductions in operational costs form a compelling argument for suppliers to rethink their current outsourcing strategy.

Read on to learn seven ways digitalized leather cutting can improve operational efficiency and measurably reduce production costs, especially when an in-house leather-cutting strategy is adopted.

  1. Reduced leather consumption
    Digital cutting technology makes it possible to cut leather with no buffer between parts — an impossible task using die-presses. The unmatched precision of digital cutting technology substantially lowers material consumption and manufacturing costs.
     
  2. Optimized cost-to-value
    Digital processes make it possible to adopt a design-for-manufacturing approach and iterate designs before investing in physical prototypes.
     
  3.  Shorter lead-time
    In a matter of days — instead of the weeks required to replace dies — suppliers can start a new program, change the steering wheel design or overcome a production peak.
     
  4. Quality standardization
    Digital cutting technology enables superior process capability and repeatability (CPK/CMK), which make it possible to reach the highest industry standard for optimal quality standardization over time.
     
  5. Faster time to proficiency
    Digital cutting equipment reduces time to proficiency for new hires by two-thirds, making the estimated turnover cost of a die press cutting room 50% more expensive.
     
  6. Integration with enterprise IT
    Digital cutting solutions enable seamless integration with ERP and MES systems. This eliminates paper reporting while making it possible to send jobs directly to the shop floor. 
     
  7. Continuous improvement monitoring
    Digital cutting equipment allows engineers to track KPIs—including ROI and TCO—previously impossible to measure and adjust these at will to meet continuous improvement objectives.

In summary, digital transformation can enable automotive steering wheel suppliers to realize significant savings long-term by reducing labor, optimizing leather efficiency and maximizing operational efficiency. By implementing digital prototyping together with digital leather cutting, it’s possible to put in place a fully integrated process that maximizes leather utilization, driving down the cost per cut leather part.

The improved productivity efficiency of digitalized processes enables a fast return on investment. Moreover, vehicle steering wheel suppliers that currently outsource cutting activities stand to further improve profitability by taking over leather-cutting tasks and integrating digitalized cutting processes into their own manufacturing operations.

Find out how to optimize operation costs and stay ahead of the competition with digital leather cutting by reading our e-guide.

READ OUR E-GUIDE, PRODUCED ESPECIALLY FOR JSS.