Process Management Drives Detroit DieselBy Aaron Troschinetz Print
How Business Process Management works for a manufacturer of big iron.
The speed and flexibility with which an organization improves its business processes can be the difference between success or failure. At Detroit Diesel, we believe that process management will enable us to exploit tremendous market opportunities with our strong products, even in light of aggressive competition and ongoing concerns about the economy.
Detroit Diesel is a heavy-duty engine manufacturer and direct subsidiary of Daimler AG, having been owned previously by GM and then Roger Penske. We manage a 3-million square-foot facility, which includes a total of a dozen machining or assembly manufacturing lines and supports five unique engine products, primarily for the Class 8 truck market. We have delivered more than 5 million engines to date, and we are always looking to realize greater efficiencies within our overall business model.
As part of Daimler Truck Group Powertrain/Engine (TGP/E), we received a mandate roughly two years ago to upgrade our internal quality management system (QMS) to the certification requirements of ISO/TS 16949:2002. This mandate represented a serious challenge for us, since the certification emphasizes a process-based approach, and while we had enjoyed some success with that methodology under the previous ISO 9001:2000 requirements, we were not prepared with an overall IT solution that offered us speed and flexibility to adapt the system accordingly.
As we surveyed the landscape for an IT solution to help us accomplish this certification target, we considered many options. Although all these options would allow us to capture the processes in electronic formats, none of them presented a total range of database features and, consequently, ease of updates throughout the system. As we began to exhaust our options, we found a solution that met these requirements and also drew us closer to our Daimler AG colleagues in Germany, the ARIS Business Architect software platform.
ARIS encompassed the total package we were looking for, and as we grew more competent with the system, made us aware of a variety of business process management (BPM) possibilities. As we continued to check off required QMS items on our desired software deliverables list, we began to put a direct alignment of this software platform against many of the process-oriented discussions we were having simultaneously within the organization. They included the required capacities of this process, whether there were opportunities to streamline and optimize the process features, and how well we could leverage the process to improve key performance indicators (KPIs).
Our facility survived our ISO/TS 16949 certification audit, and on July 30, 2008, we became an officially certified organization by our external registry group. As we completed the final steps of this effort, we were all impressed with the software’s ability to adapt to this specification’s rigorous requirements.
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