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Ford Plant

Ford's Cologne Factory Saves €600,000 Per Year Using WITNESS

APPLICATION: Production Line Optimisation

SECTOR: Automotive

BENEFIT: Through using WITNESS simulation software to model the decal processes, Ford’s Cologne factory has been able to save €600,000 per year.

Automotive leader Ford has been using the Lanner WITNESS simulation and optimisation software for many years. At the Ford facility in Cologne, Germany, a project to optimize decal processes in the paint shop has been a notable success.


The aim of the simulation project was to develop a control logic for two production lines in order to optimise the decal processes applied to 1,950 parts across different models of car: the Ford Fusion, the Ford Fiesta 3-door and Ford Fiesta 5-door.

An additional challenge was to find a distribution logic that would optimise staffing levels for the two production lines. As a final requirement, Ford wanted the simulation and optimisation capability to be as intuitive as possible and not demand extensive simulation knowledge from the user.


Lanner’s WITNESS has delivered clear benefits to Ford. In order to ensure that the simulation is simple to use, data entry forms in the familiar MS-Excel interface have been developed to cover all of the necessary simulation parameters.

The control logic - applied to the production lines - has had a significant positive impact on productivity, in terms of both the number of decal processes applied in a given time period, and the quality of those processes.

However this has not been at the expense of flexibility, as a user-programmable control has also been implemented, to enable experimentation with alternative processes and then selection of the optimal process, across both lines.

By optimizing these processes, Ford has realised significant labour savings - an average of four full time employees - increasing competitiveness.

Helmut Hundenborn, supervisor of the decal shop comments: 

"Through the use of WITNESS, we have realised that we can work smarter and operate the two decal lines with fewer staff and tighter processes. This has led to savings of € 600,000 a year.”

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