|Scope for individual wishes
Audi produces its cars in quite large numbers. Is this "mass production"? Far from it: almost every car is produced to the customer's specific requirements: step by step, a series of entirely personal Audis leaves the assembly line. Audi customers benefit from this versatile principle: it is rare for two cars produced on any given working day to be identical. An ingenious computerized production planning system records all the necessary information, processes it and converts it into a precision flow of materials to assure individuality at acceptable cost.
|An unbeatable combination
To satisfy changing market demands, a program of seven basic Audi models has been built up. Within these seven basic models there are 40 different engines, finished in 16 standard and a large number of special colors and offered with additional equipment and optional extras from a list containing some 700 items. Special extras for 140 national markets are also included. As soon as a car is ordered and a delivery date agreed, weekly and daily production schedules are drawn up which trigger off the necessary work at outside suppliers and at the company's own pre-assembly stations. The end product: another Audi that reflects its future owner's wishes in every tasteful, stylish detail.
|Logistics - the "nervous system"
The art of "just-in-time" production consists of keeping intermediate stock levels down to an absolute minimum, yet none the less having each part arrive at the predetermined point at precisely the right time. This pre-supposes that logistics and production control are closely networked - outside the plant as well as within. Suppliers also need to know when each particular Audi is due to be produced. Networked information systems ensure that the necessary assemblies arrive not only at the right time but with the correct specification.
|Every version - as needed
At the logistics centers, complex components and assemblies are built in close proximity to the final vehicle assembly lines. This principle has many advantages. To take just one example: in theory the internal wiring harness comes in 1,200,000 different variations. It would be pointless to stock them all. Instead, the supplier is situated immediately adjacent to the Audi plant and receives all the delivery data he needs online. In this way the Audi customer's equipment requirements, whatever they may be, can be satisfied with a minimum of delay.
|From road to rail
Every year about 400,000 metric tons of material are moved in large-capacity rail freight vehicles or by combined road-rail methods. This minimizes the number of energy-intensive transport and handling operations, which represent a potential environmental burden. Local suppliers use economical, low-pollution transport fleets to deliver components to Audi. The Logistics Center in lngolstadt has found a particularly elegant solution to its transport tasks: suppliers move their modules in re-usable packs by means of an electric hoist across a bridge leading directly to the final assembly lines.
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