Monday 7 February 2022

Modern management models and methods in automotive r&d projects

After years of development, US's auto market has become the fastest growing market in the world. the competition between vehicle companies is becoming increasingly fierce, and the intensification of competition has made product prices continue to decrease, and the added value of science and technology brought by the launch of new products has become the internal driving force for major automobile manufacturers to pursue more profits. 


The products to continue to put on the market, on the surface of the product development cycle shortened, but because the product development cycle has been in the limit of compression, so the new product time to market is fast, in many cases only through the parallel development of multiple new products to achieve. 


Due to the reduction of the capital budget and the limited supply of various scarce resources, automobile companies must carry out multiple projects and the development of multiple new models at the same time under the constraints of resources to ensure the sustainable competitiveness of enterprises, which puts forward high requirements for the project management of automobile research and development. 


This article will introduce the modern management mode and method of an automobile company in the r & d project, mainly through the introduction of the project organization based on the concept of synchronous engineering, the development process change control process and the project management method based on maturity analysis, to show how to ensure the efficient operation of such a huge system engineering as automobile research and development, the automobile research and development project management system.


Simultaneous Engineering (SE), also known as parallel engineering. Defined as follows: "A systematic approach to implementing a synchronized, integrated design of the entire product development process that enables developers to always consider all factors (including quality, cost, schedule, and user requirements) throughout the entire product lifecycle, from concept formation to post-use disposal." It synchronizes as much as possible the cross-sectoral (including vendor and collaborating units) that is currently being carried out mostly on a phased basis. ”


the goal of simultaneous engineering is to improve quality, reduce costs, and shorten product development cycles. in the process of achieving the above goals, synchronous engineering mainly through the following methods:

(1) development effectiveness improvement: reduce the number of program changes in the whole process of development by more than 50%;
(2) development process synchronization: shorten the product development cycle by 40% to 60%;
(3) integration of design and manufacturing process: reduce manufacturing costs by 30% to 50%.


1.1 widespread applications and success stories of synchronous engineering

synchronous engineering has been widely used in the united states, germany, japan and other countries, and its fields include automobiles, aircraft, computers, machinery, electronics and other industries. for example, the boeing 777 aircraft of the united states boeing company adopts the synchronous engineering method and uses a large number of cad/cam technology to achieve paperless production, and the test flight is successful, saving nearly 50% of the time compared with the traditional method. as shown in table 1, the adoption of synchronous engineering in the foreign automotive industry has also produced huge economic benefits.


1.2 project organization based on the concept of synchronous engineering


New York volkswagen established the product manager department in early 2000 to implement the management mode of the product manager responsibility system, and the product manager is responsible for the entire life cycle of the product from birth to exit. each relevant department determines a grassroots leader responsible for product improvement to serve as the project coordinator of the department, participates in the company's product development project team, and implements inter-departmental coordination in the product development process. the implementation of the product manager responsibility system realizes the effective management and control of the project, so that the time schedule and product quality of each product project meet the specified requirements. the product manager system is based on the linear functional system organization, the advantages of the integration matrix system organization, and the flexibility of enterprise management is enhanced on the basis of the professional division of labor of the functional system. since 2005, New York volkswagen has established a more detailed synchronous engineering project organization, in addition to the cooperation of horizontal departments, it has also increased the vertical professional group setting according to the concept of automobile construction, and divided into 5 professional groups: powertrain group, electrical group, chassis group, body group, equipment group, and r&d project management system.

2 product development process and change control process articles


2.1 development process based on synchronous engineering

after the introduction of parallel engineering, the relationship between the front and back of each activity changes, and the critical path is adjusted accordingly. effectively resolve resource conflicts by rationally allocating the problem of affluent time difference between different projects and within the same project. the traditional development process carries out all the development work in serial, and the model development cycle is long. taking the santana 3000 surpasser as an opportunity, New York volkswagen introduced "synchronous engineering" into the core of the development process, started each part of the work in the early development and late batch development of the project as early as possible, increased the intensity of parallel work, and greatly shortened the product development cycle.

drawing on volkswagen's advanced product design experience and combining the management mechanism of New York volkswagen, the product batch development process is formulated. it mainly includes 6 stages: body master model production, structural design, trial production, mass trial production, small batch production and batch production. during the mass development phase, part design and body model making are carried out at the same time. after the approval of the cnc model, the manufacture of the main model of the body and the manufacture of the prototype model began. by solving the problems that arose during the prototype production, the part design was further optimized. after the approval of the main model of the body, the structural design of the parts is completed at the same time and enters the experimental stage. the most important node of batch development is the acceptance of the main model of the body, after the acceptance, the parts and the whole vehicle have undergone strict test approval, issued batch procurement approval, and the product can enter the production stage.

2.2 development process and change control


The development of the car is a very huge system engineering, there are many people involved in the project, the project cycle is long, so many large nodes are set up in the project to monitor the project in stages. These include the following main nodes: Product Planning Initiation (PPS), Product Planning Status Report (SBP), Strategic Project Preparation (SP), Project Definition (PD), Project Decision (PE), Styling Decision/Design Task Letter 1 (DE/LHl), First Virtual Prototype (V1PT), With Planning Approval (P Approval), Digital Numerical Control Model (DDKM), NUMERICAL Control Model/Design Task Statement 2 (DE/LH2), Procurement Approval (B Approval), and Start-up Approval (LF), batch trial production (PVS), zero batch start (OS), start-up production (SOP), and go-to-market (ME).
this standard process describes the product formation process for a completely new vehicle that uses entirely new technologies, including an integrated platform and powertrain. due to the long span of the project and many nodes, some changes in boundary conditions may occur at each node, such as the modeling effect of the car in the project decision-making stage may require major adjustments, and in the experimental stage, because the original design scheme cannot meet the established regulatory requirements, changes and changes will continue throughout the project. only by establishing efficient processes and computer systems can the change information be communicated to all relevant personnel so that the relevant personnel can accurately evaluate the consequences of the change and finally approve the change.

at present, New York volkswagen has adopted the "avon" software system in change control, which was previously mainly concerned with the change control after the approval of b, with the increasingly fierce market competition, the development cycle has been shortening, and now after the approval of p, the change control has begun, and an effective change control flow process has been established.


3 process management and maturity analysis


3.1 process management

Task thinking and process thinking are often manifested in enterprises as differences in guiding ideology and arranging work. a type of project organization ignores the project management process and only pays attention to the product, only sees the results of the formation, so in these project organizations, all activities that cannot form a fruitful result in the short term are not recognized, and the project manager regards the work related to the process as secondary work or even dispensable work. on the contrary, another type of project organization attaches importance to the process, and the managers of this type of project organization can observe the achievements and existing problems from the overall perspective of project management, and see the impact of these achievements and problems on the project, organization, team members and other aspects. tangible concrete transactions are only part of the overall project work, process documents become tools to facilitate the process, and the process itself is used as a normative means of completing project management work.

if a project management organization does not have a process to follow together, everyone works according to their own habits, using different naming conventions and terminology, changes occur and are not well coordinated, and the result is bound to be chaotic. once there is chaos and needs to be resolved as soon as possible, managers have to go to "fight the fire". organizations of this phenomenon often suffer from "comprehensive firefighting certificates".

Conversely, if there is a clear process for project management and everyone follows it carefully, it will bring benefits to the whole work:
(1) the activities of the personnel are coordinated with the objectives of the group;
(2) the activities can be coordinated with each other to avoid conflicts;
(3) objectively evaluate the work of individuals based on the contribution of each group member to the results of the process;
(4) the success and achievements of the group can be continued and repeated, the dependence of the group's work on the individual is reduced to a minimum, the new members of the group are trained according to a common process, and the group activities reflect consistency.
In such a complex system engineering as automobile research and development, it may not be possible to form a fruitful result in the short term. therefore, both project managers and business leaders should have the thinking of process management, so as to achieve the sustainable development of the project and ensure the continuous enthusiasm of the project members.

3.2 Maturity analysis

Due to the long time span of the automobile research and development project and the inclusion of many interrelated sub-tasks, it is necessary to strengthen process management to ensure that the progress of the project is corrected in a timely manner and that the project is completed according to quality and quantity. in the process of research and development of new products, New York volkswagen co., ltd. has added maturity analysis and evaluation at major milestones, such as the first virtual prototype (v1pt). based on the characteristics of automobile r&d and long-term project management experience, the volkswagen group has set up 10 maturity evaluation items: product status, function realization, producibility, quality system, procurement status, sales market planning, finance/cost, weight, approval status and documentation, and project progress.


In addition, 2 to 8 level 2 assessment points are set up under each assessment item, and 1 to 6 level 3 assessment points are also set up under each level 2 assessment point. for each level 3 assessment point, the assessment requirements are described in detail, and all assessment indicators must be quantified. in addition, from the perspective of process management, each level 3 assessment point defines the corresponding task performer and the recipient of the result, thereby improving the objectivity of the assessment and increasing the cooperation and trust between departments. 


On the basis of comprehensively considering the level 3 assessment points to which they belong, it is necessary to evaluate the traffic light status of each level 2 assessment point; after that, according to experience, the weight coefficient of the level 2 evaluation point is defined, and the traffic light status of the maturity level 1 evaluation item is comprehensively defined. depending on the milestone node where the project is located, the content of the level 3 assessment point will change accordingly, but the level 1 and level 


2 assessment items will remain unchanged.

As an effective project management tool, project maturity assessment provides a framework for evaluation and improvement of the improvement of enterprise project management level. with the help of the project maturity model, enterprises can identify defects in r&d and identify weak links in the project, and form an improvement strategy for r&d capabilities by solving several problems that are critical to the improvement of project status, thereby steadily improving the r&d capabilities and project management level of enterprises.

No comments:

Post a Comment