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Ambient Intelligence Technology for Systemic Innovation in Manufacturing SME's

Project Co-ordinator:
Uwe Kirchhoff
ATB Institute for Applied Systems
Technology Bremen
Tel: +49 421 220920
Fax: +49 421 2209210

Partners: ATB(DE), Brüggen(DE), CARSA(ES), DERI(IE), OAS(DE), ProDV(DE), Sidheán(IE), Softrónica(ES), Telefónica(ES), TNS(PL), TRIMEK(ES)

Oct 2005 - Sept 2008

Business Case 4

Euro Coach Builders are a small company based in a rural region in the north part of Ireland. Euro Coach Builders have a modern purpose built base in Gweedore, Co. Donegal, Ireland and has since become the largest builders of buses in the Irish Republic. Euro Coach Builders are responsible for the production of a wide range of quality vehicles, including coach built vehicles with a capacity of up to 45 seats for our midi- coach, 55 seats on School Buses as well as a complete selection of conversions and special purpose vehicles. These vehicles are custom built according to the customer input which takes place throughout the entire fabrication of the bus.

The objectives of this process are to:

The key business process in Euro Coach Builders was analysed. It begins with a contact from the customers. In the initial contact a basic outline of the coach requirements is communicated to Euro Coach in terms of the overall size etc. These initial specifications are fed into the production plan of the overall manufacturing floor. The specifications are not finalised however until later in the process. For example type of air conditioning and seat covers. The production plan is made up for each order that comes in and a draft schedule is drawn up. However order specifications often begin to change when the final specifications are given to the order manager. The first draft of the final specification is used to schedule the final assembly however often it happens that the customer may have a change of mind after the specification execution has taken place. Re-work often happens and this may also be due to the fact that the updated order specification did not make it to the workers on the shop floor in time. After final assembly is taken place a cross check to ensure that the final product is to the most recent specification that the customer has order is taken place. From this a functional test is also taken place to ensure that all the features are working on the final product. A summary of the process flow can be seen in the following Figure.

After analysing the business processes an assessment of the potential benefits of the improvement activities and AmI solution were discussed. Based on this discussion further prioritisation of the key weak points to be addressed took place and the key issues to be addressed were decided. It was decided to target the customer order management and to make improvements and innovations in this area. Therefore, priority was given to the production control and customer order management, aiming at improving the change request process of customer orders so as to avoid any delays or increase in production costs.

Finally the following aspect for a human centric optimisation were elaborated: