Maruti Suzuki houses its Research and Development (R&D) wing at Rohtak. Car manufcaturing is undertaken at the Gurgaon and Manesar plants. With 16 vehicles across segments offered in over 1000 variants, production is at an all time high at both plants to cater to Maruti’s market share dominance in the Indian automobile industry. Both Maruti plants are working at 98% utilization level over two shifts.
Facts: 7 process shops. 5 assembly lines. 1,700+ robots. 3 stage inspection. Maruti Suzuki is able to roll out a car every 12 seconds.
Working within the structured Kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement and feedback, and ‘One Operator, and One Step Reduction’, Maruti Suzuki saves on scarp reduction, timely brainstorming, green practices, and overall cost reduction, which isn’t always quantifiable to the penny.
The 600-acre Manesar plant tour presented a visual delight with an endless line of new Dzire’s in a range of trims and colour being rolled out in continuity. The Manesar assembly line is also responsible for Swift and Ciaz production. The Dzire, Swift and Ciaz roll out from the same line as is fed into the system. Work begins at the press shop, moving to the weld shop, and then paint shop before being brought to the assembly line.
A strategic work pattern between 1,100 robots and 7,000 workers results in a whopping 3,100 cars being manufactured each day. The smaller Gurgaon plant rolls out 2700 cars. Collectively, MSIL manufactures 5,800 cars over two shifts (16 hours) every day. Plant workers put in two eight hour shifts. Maintenance work at both plants is carried out through two planned shutdowns spanning a week each, twice in a year (every six months).
On a daily basis, 2,500 vendors supply components, and more than 3,000 trucks enter the facility. Production logistics is fixed five days in advance. This ensures vendor supplies are in accordance to scheduled vehicle-build-sequence.
Maruti Suzuki focuses manufacturing around safety, quality, ergonomics and flexibility. Safety parameters vary across shop floors. Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes Kevlar gloves, and arm covers, helmets, and safety goggles. Safety sensors detect human presence in automated work stations.
Zero defects is prioritized by building perfection before inspection. Manual inspections check for faulty manufacturing. The assembly shop ‘pika pika’ process is designed to prevent errors by alerting the technician if an incorrect component is handled. The production line is topped upon signalling. Tablets at stations automate inspection as per information process that’s fed in the system.
Rapid entire body assessment (REBA) stidies the shop floor assistant’s body dimension so the machine adjusts as per operator’s height to reduce fatigue. To reduce walking around to fetch appropriate components and to lift heavy objects, synchronised trolleys, turn tables, and power-assisted lifters assist workers.
Flexible robotics facilitates working on different car models on the same production line in quick time. While robotics assistance is paramount, fitment of features is a manual process at the plant.
Maruti Suzuki exports made in India cars to 110 countries. Export volumes account for about a tenth of overall production in Haryana. To match increased demand, MSIL has set its production target for 2017 at 17 lakh cars, and then moving to 20 lakh units by 2020. In 2016, production was pegged at upwards of 15 lakh units, of which more than 1.20 lakh cars were exported.
Suzuki Motor Gujarat (SMG) Hansalpur plant’s first assembly line is contributing to production. Work is ongoing on the second assembly line, with plans for a third line as per need. Production for 2017 is planned for about 1.5 lakh units, especially the Baleno to mitigate high demand, and correspondingly, high waiting period. Combined capacity at the newest plant can be scaled up to 7.5 lakh units pa.
(Disclosure: My visit to the Maruti Suzuki Manesar plant was sponsored by MSIL)