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Audi repeats Automotive Lean Production Award win

(PresseBox) (Ingolstadt, ) .
- Renowned accolade for efficient production processes
- Plant Manager Peter Kössler: "Special recognition for our team"
- Production's "frontloading concept" and consideration of demographic trends impress jury

Quality, process safety and ergonomics set the production system at AUDI AG apart in impressive fashion. A recent study in German trade journal "Automobil Produktion" makes clear just how successful the carmaker has been at further optimizing its production processes. Just like last year, the journal's jury of experts declared Audi the winner of the Automotive Lean Production Award. And for the first time, the "Manufacturer" category was won not by an individual production sector but by an entire car production facility - that of the Audi A4, A5 and Q5 at the Ingolstadt site.

"We use our employees' creative ideas when designing and realizing our production system. The continuous process of improvement at Audi succeeds thanks to each and every employee's initiative and commitment," emphasizes Peter Kössler, plant manager at the Ingolstadt site. "Winning the Automotive Lean Production Award once again provides recognition for our team."

In workshops close to production lines, Audi allows its employees to independently and promptly implement ideas which enhance ergonomics or "pokayoke" measures (avoidance of errors). One such idea which has been put into practice is a bolt dispenser: it automatically supplies an employee with the precise number of bolts they require to complete a given task. This saves time and helps to minimize errors.

"Often, it is many small steps which together enable a giant leap to be made," says Gerhard Schneider, Head of A4/A5/Q5 Production in Ingolstadt. "The bolt dispenser is a good example of our lean philosophy: we avoid waste. Another example: the "supermarkets" which are not far from the assembly line. Here, a basket of necessary "goods" is assembled in advance and then delivered to the line at just the right time. This considerably reduces the complexity of line operations.

The jury for the Automotive Lean Production Award was also impressed by Audi's responses to challenges presented by demographic trends as well as the company's ergonomic solutions to production issues. "We always take into consideration the strengths and weaknesses of workers of different ages when we plan workstations," explains Kössler. For example, an employee installing head airbags maintains an ergonomically optimal posture thanks to an ergonomic assembly seat, which allows the employee to glide into the vehicle's interior. Handling devices assist employees during such procedures as the installation of batteries weighing as much as 30 kilograms. "Efficiency is boosted if employees are given ideal conditions to work in," emphasizes Kössler.

The "frontloading concept" also convinced members of the jury. Even during the proverbial first brush strokes, Audi Production employees play an active role in creating a new model - long before a vehicle is productionready. This ensures that the Audi Production system's principles are observed right from the start, which consequently keeps production processes as streamlined and efficient as possible.

This year's Automotive Lean Production Award is the fifth presented by the "Automobil Produktion" trade journal and Agamus Consult, a management consultancy. More than 60 companies take part in this renowned competition's five categories. AUDI AG was last year's winner of the "Manufacturer" category for its A3 assembly line.

Audi AG

The Audi Group sold around 950,000 cars of the Audi brand in 2009. The Company posted revenue of €29.8 billion and an operating profit of €1.6 billion. Audi produces vehicles in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm (Germany), Győr (Hungary), Changchun (China) and Brussels (Belgium). Aurangabad in India saw the start of CKD production of the Audi A6 at the end of 2007, of the Audi A4 in early October 2008 and of the Audi Q5 in July 2010. Production of the new Audi A1 has been running at the Brussels plant since May 2010. The Company is active in more than 100 markets worldwide. AUDI AG's wholly owned subsidiaries include AUDI HUNGARIA MOTOR Kft., Automobili Lamborghini Holding S.p.A. in Sant'Agata Bolognese (Italy) and quattro GmbH in Neckarsulm. Audi currently employs around 58,000 people worldwide, including 45,500 in Germany. Between 2010 and 2012 the Audi Group is planning to invest €5.5 billion, mainly in new products, in order to sustain the Company's technological lead embodied in its "Vorsprung durch Technik" slogan. By 2015, Audi plans to increase the number of models in its portfolio to 42.

Audi has long been fulfilling its social responsibility on many levels - with the aim of making the future worth living for generations to come. The basis for Audi's lasting success is therefore formed by environmental protection, the conservation of resources, international competitiveness and a forwardlooking human resources policy. One example of AUDI AG's commitment to environmental issues is the newly established Audi Environmental Foundation.