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Automotive Intelligence News

News of August 14, 2002


 


DaimlerChrysler's "Technology Tool Box" Brings Innovation to Manufacturing, Engineering and Sales Operations

  • By 2005, Factories will be Planned, Built, Launched and Operated using Full Simulation
  • eEngineering Portal, Driving Collaboration and Global Processes
  • DealerCONNECT Provides Single Point of Entry for Dealer Transactions - An Industry First
Traverse City, Mich. - Sue Unger, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for DaimlerChrysler AG, said today that the Company's "technology tool box" is helping to improve processes and drive innovation through the global enterprise.

During a speech given at the 2002 Management Briefing Seminars at the Grand Traverse Resort, Unger shared several examples of how information technology is being used to identify process changes that bring practical, measurable and sustainable improvements to the Company.

Susan Unger

Photo: DC

One of the tools critical to improving quality, value and speed to market is the Digital Factory. The Chrysler Group is already doing virtual product development, using CATIA and digital mockup, but it doesn't stop there, said Unger. The goal is to have "an end-to-end solution, flowing from design and development to product planning and production."

The Toledo North Assembly Plant, home of the Jeep® Liberty, was the first Chrysler facility built using manufacturing simulation for only $54 per square foot, an industry benchmark when compared to the industry average of $70-80 per square foot.

"Our global vision is that by 2005, every production factory will be planned, built, launched and operated first using full simulation, before going to bricks and mortar," Unger said. "Every digital vehicle must pass the Digital Factory quality gate - meeting cost, quality and timing targets - before approval will be given for the actual factory."

According to Unger, the Digital Factory has the potential to shorten production planning cycles by up to 40 percent; enforces quality and "best practices"; and reduces cost, while improving quality to achieve gains in productivity, efficiency and safety.

"Working closely with the business units within the DaimlerChrysler family, we're retooling to provide an agile, innovative and collaborative environment to digitally define the way our products are manufactured today and in the future," said Unger.

Another tool developed by the Company's Information Technology Management group is the eEngineering Portal, a Web-based application that provides access to current engineering data across organizational, company and system boundaries 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said Unger. Nearly 4,000 employees worldwide -- in Engineering, Product Planning, Purchasing, After Sales and Service -- currently use the system with plans to roll it out to suppliers in the fourth quarter of 2002. The worldwide user base is expected to grow to 20,000 by 2004.

"The eEngineering Portal is driving collaboration between virtual teams at DaimlerChrysler and enabling global processes," said Unger. "Work can occur in a parallel rather than in a sequential process, which speeds development and brings the Company significant market and cost benefits."

In addition to improving the way manufacturing and engineering does business, the "tool box" is also helping the dealer.

DealerCONNECT is a single point of entry for all Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealer-related transactions and will improve the speed and effectiveness of factory-to-dealer communications. More than 150 dealer-facing transactions are being engineered for DealerCONNECT. Because of standards, all the transactions will have the same look and feel, and will be accessible via a Web browser.

DealerCONNECT allows the nearly 5,000 Chrysler Group dealers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and around the world to order vehicles and parts or check inventories and mail from anywhere, at anytime.

(August 07, 2002)

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