Hitachi, a cutting-edge Global Manufacturer of Automotive Parts
Supply Chain Efficiency with SOLOCHAIN WMS
Hitachi Astemo Americas manufactures automotive materials, products, and systems for some of the most prestigious vehicule manufacturers in the world.
Hitachi's Querétaro business unit, assembles critical parts for brake systems and car suspensions, including brake calipers, hoses, fittings, wiring harnesses, discs, and pads. The facility is approximately 1 million sq. ft., employs 200 to 1000 workers, and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Hitachi Astemo had recently acquired a new client: a global, best-in-class original equipment manufacturer (OEM) interested in the brake and suspension parts assembled in the Querétaro facility. After performing an audit of Hitachi’s facility, the client determined that its current systems would not be able to meet its requirements. The key challenges that Hitachi had to urgently address in its Querétaro facility were:
- Insufficient levels of inventory accuracy
- Non existent FIFO inventory management capabilities
- Suboptimal picking efficiency and accuracy
- Inability to adequately trace components/perform recalls
In addition to these issues, Hitachi had to contend with the same resource shortages that have been plaguing most manufacturers and distributors around the world. The manufacturer had to find solutions to avoid costly production delays caused by shortages and improve its material requirements planning capabilities.
Hitachi Astemo launched a competitive RFP process to source a Warehouse Management System (WMS) that would help them overcome their current challenges. At the end of the RFP process, Hitachi identified the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES as the solution of choice for its Querétaro facility.
Time is of the essence: Hitachi could not afford any delays and had to quickly implement solutions to meet its new client’s requirements. Leveraging SOLOCHAIN’s modular design, the Generix team divided the implementation into two phases to ensure that key capabilities were delivered on time.
Implement SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES to support manufacturing processes in the brake department.
Deploy SOLOCHAIN in the suspension department and complete the WMS/MES integration with Hitachi’s ERP system, client facing applications, and supplier systems.
Keys to Success
Thanks to Generix’s experience and expertise, the implementation team was able to develop creative solutions for problems that had never been encountered before, and to achieve a fully remote implementation during the first phase. That creativity, paired with a well-iterated and clearly defined deployment process, enabled the Generix Team to guide Hitachi’s engineers through the process and meet every deadline.
Hitachi’s management also contributed to the operation’s success by fully dedicating members of its technology team to the implementation. Hitachi’s technology experts collaborated with the Generix team and leveraged SOLOCHAIN’s easy-to-use implementation tools to navigate the implementation process with ease and agility.
Meeting the Industry's Most Stringent Standards and Opening Up New Channels
SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES allowed Hitachi to implement warehouse management best practices in its Querétaro facility and to comply with its client’s requirements as well as automotive OEM industry standards.
To meet the client’s quality assurance standards, Hitachi was required to enforce FIFO inventory management. With SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES, FIFO is now applied without fail at every step and for every item in stock: components, subassemblies, and finished goods.
Meanwhile, SOLOCHAIN’s powerful tracking capabilities have replaced error-prone spreadsheets. This ensures the manufacturer can perform efficient and targeted recalls the minute an item is identified as problematic.
Compliance with its client’s and the industry’s strictest quality standards has opened up new possibilities for Hitachi. Thanks to SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES, the manufacturer can now explore new markets and extend its reach in the high-end automotive OEM sector.
Accurate and Detailed Inventory Visibility - Improved Throughput: Significantly Faster Manufacturing Process
Being able to rely on accurate inventory data enables Hitachi to stay ahead of demand and avoid frustrating shortages. SOLOCHAIN helps the manufacturer ensure sufficient quantities are always maintained as safety stock, for instance, which provides an additional a further guarantee to clients who might be concerned about product availability.
Optimized Item Locations and Accurate Picking Activities Made for a Better Work Environment
Optimized item location and efficient task assignments mean that goods are being moved more efficiently across the facility. This, in turn, prevents frustrations on the floor and encourages employees to handle items with more care, which leads to a tidier warehouse and a better work environment.
A Better Customer Experience
Shipping activities no longer rely on spreadsheets at the Querétaro facility. SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES now helps management plan and organize shipments to avoid bottlenecks at the dock and guarantee that every order is shipped on time.
Through its integration with customer - facing applications, SOLOCHAIN provides information on the location and status of ordered items, helping clients track their order’s progress.