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Nissan uses WITNESS simulation software from the Lanner Group to aid project evaluation


Background

Simulation techniques are used widely within the automotive industry. The possible applications are limitless but most automakers use simulation to evaluate improvements to their production processes. One such company is Nissan Motors. Since 1992, the company has been using WITNESS to aid process planning projects at their UK site in Sunderland. Since its implementation, WITNESS has been used to evaluate a variety of projects within the organisation. Examples include the following:

Painted Body Store

Nissan set up a project to establish why the Painted Body Store was becoming congested and to identify and evaluate possible solutions. By applying simulation, Nissan was able to identify that by adjusting Work in Progress levels and changing the process flow and quantity of slings (that are used to carry bodies through the store), the build up of work in the area could be eased. These changes were made and not only were bottlenecks in the Painted Body Store avoided, but stoppages downstream on the Trim and Chassis lines were also removed.

White Body Store

Manufacturing process control logic is frequently improved through the use of simulation studies. At Nissan, WITNESS was used to remodel control logic in the White Body Store. As a result, bottlenecks in both body shops and paint shops were reduced. These benefits were achieved without any financial investment.

In addition to the specific examples mentioned, WITNESS has been used to provide answers to a variety of projects. Examples include the identification of ideal investment levels in a new axle painting facility, the suitability (in terms of capacity) of the company’s pre-storage area, and the packaging requirements to support engine transportation from Sunderland, to Nissan's operation in Spain.

Denys Connor, production controller for Nissan, is very pleased with the results. 

“The versatility and interactive nature of WITNESS means that new projects can be evaluated quickly and accurately,” he says. “And, of course, the great benefit of simulation is that ideas can be fully evaluated before any financial commitment is made.”

Results

Over the years, the financial savings highlighted by WITNESS have been significant and have more than outweighed the initial investment. However, many benefits arising from the use of WITNESS are intangible such as better understanding of production processes, improved communication of new ideas, and the confidence to challenge previously accepted practices. Nissan is looking forward to gaining more benefits from the system in the future.


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