Automotive industry responds to clients’ wishes
European project wants to create flexible company networks capable of manufacturing and delivering a personalised car in just five days.
In order to compete with oriental and American car manufacturers, the European medium and high-end automotive industry must find differentiating factors other than price, such as the ability to respond to the demands of the current clients.
Jorge Pinho de Sousa from INESC Porto told “jn negócios” that “This is why the project is called AC/DC 5 Days Car”.
The AC/DC 5 Days Car is a European Project led by Continental Teves, with partners such as BMW and Volkswagen from Germany, several suppliers of automobile equipment and parts from all over Europe, and also institutes and universities, among which there is INESC Porto. This project started being worked on two years ago and it will probably be concluded in 2010.
Jorge Pinho de Sousa stated that “We hope that by that time it will be possible to manufacture a car in five days, that is, deliver a car to the client with all the ordered specifications in just five days”. For that, he believes that “it is necessary to find new industrial organisation ways” that will respond to the different requests in productive time.
The establishment of a collaborative network is one of the main ideas behind this project. According to Jorge Pinho de Sousa, these networks should be flexible enough so as to respond to the clients solicitations in productive time”. This means that “with a good information system, the request will be sent to all the suppliers who will then quickly respond to those requests or indicate someone who will”.
Currently, the researchers are trying to understand the failures in the network process and in communication, so that they can be improved.
Jorge Pinho de Sousa stressed that the AC/DC 5 Days Car project also intends to design modular and reusable components. As an example, he mentioned the braking system, saying that “the physical component is basic to almost everyone. The difference is in the applied software, which can be more or less sophisticated. When the hardware is ready, it is easier to add the software”.
Jornal de Notícias, 28 June 2008
Text by Virgínia Alves and photograph by Leonel de Castro