Automotive Supply Chain

The Company

The Company is a powerful and reliable partner to the automotive industry. Be it car or commercial vehicle, be it electric motor, hybrid technology, or optimized combustion engine, they offer innovative solutions for all types of drive system in passenger cars and commercial vehicles. With a strong global presence with 46 manufacturing locations across Europe, America, Africa, and Asia they employ a team of over 9,500 employees within the group. With over 140 years’ experience this company has developed a robust business strategy that includes a commitment to working towards Operational Excellence within all its manufacturing facilities with some degree of success in reducing and eliminating waste whilst increasing profit to have a positive impact on EBITDA.

The Challenge

The main challenge of this project was to improve efficiency and increase profit. The site was in a loss-making position ($48M over 8 year) which could not be sustained within the group. Both the group and the manufacturing unit share a strategy focused on financial growth whilst focusing on Customer needs.The key objectives of the project were to reduce both fixed and variable costs. Labour efficiency, capacity issues, on-time delivery in full, as well as workplace organization were the main focus. These objectives impacted the company’s efficiency and profitability and would strengthen its reputation for excellence and commitment to customer satisfaction.

The Approach

To best support the business whilst addressing the challenges, the business agreed to start from Ground Zero with the support from Business Transformation Associates Ltd (BTA), having worked with us previously in the UK they were aware of our situational approach to support turnaround and accelerated transformation. The approach included several essential actions:

Value Stream Mapping / Lean Maturity Assessment

Current State Map created with opportunities for improvement identified. Lean Maturity assessment carried out and gap analysis documented.

Hoshin Kanri

Support provided to ensure Site and Departmental Strategy were aligned with the corporate objectives.

Introduction to Lean

Senior Leadership and Middle Management Team across all shifts were introduced to Lean thinking, giving them a basic understanding of Lean methodologies, why the business needs to change and how a Lean approach fits in with the site and group strategic intent.

Leadership Development

An in-depth program of support was provided to develop the knowledge and understanding of Operational Excellence by the Senior Leadership Team, enabling them to become confidently involved and drive the required changes. 

Supervisor and Team Leader coaching with ongoing support to accelerate the introduction of appropriate Lean methodologies and concepts. 

Introduction of 5S

The team were coached in the application of 5S methodology to improve workplace organization, cleanliness, efficiency, and safety. Operator ergonomic assessments were completed to assist with workstation layout.

Visual Management

Implementation of several Visual Management techniques to identify whether processes were in / out of control for rapid problem solving.

8-Step Practical Problem Solving

Facilitation of several problem-solving activities relating to current business issues. A 'Learn by Doing' approach introducing the team to the process of successful problem solving and completion of the supporting A3 document.

Layered Process Auditing 

Development and introduction of LPA and correct auditing questions to sustain improvement.

Total Productive Maintenance

Cross functional team activity, returning the equipment to as new a condition as possible. First and Second level tasks identified and allocated to production personnel. Reduced unplanned downtime by 42%.

Quick Changeover

Cross functional team activity to reduce downtime and improve production capacity. Equipment tooling change and set-up time reduced by 97%.

 Kaizen Activity

Implementation of several small Kaizen activities to support the introduction of a continuous improvement culture throughout the organization by enhancing the management of natural teams.


Over a 16-month period, BTA provided 2-weeks each month of on-site support. The situational approach to Operational Excellence and the rigorous implementation of the mentioned actions brought significant results to the company:


From loss making to $3.92 Million profit at year end.

Corporate Maturity Assessment 

16 Point increase (most improved in group)