The Automotive Supply Chain Competitiveness Initiative (ASCCI) World Class Manufacturing (WCM) programme has enjoyed a high level of participation over the past 12 months and is on track to complete 21 projects by the end of the year, National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM) commercial director and ASCCI facilitator Shivani Singh tells Engineering News.
ASCCI is a collaborative initiative between the suppliers, original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs), government and labour, with core funders including the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), NAACAM, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa and the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa.
The ASCCI WCM programme focuses on production upgrading initiatives to embed lean principles across organisations and unlock productivity gains. The WCM programme has an intensive focus on training on the shopfloor, with formal training interventions in problem-solving, quality management and production performance management, she explains.
Singh notes that, over the past year, many ASCCI beneficiaries have used the WCM programme to support their certification for International Automotive Task Force 16949 – a global automotive quality management standard required by most OEMs.
“With Covid-19 likely placing increasing pressure on suppliers to contain costs, the WCM methodology is extremely useful for supporting this requirement,” she says.
Auomotive components manufacturer MAHLE Behr South Africa MD, NAACAM national executive committee member and ASCCI chairperson Alex Holmes says ASCCI currently has two years left as part of this business cycle, whereupon DTIC funding will conclude.
“Now that we have a solid foundation with regard to facilitation and project delivery, we have a product offering which should be of interest to industry stakeholders. We need to then leverage commitment to an ongoing contribution stream,” he says.
Localisation and Transformation
Holmes explains that localisation can only come with suitable commercial competitiveness, but that this requires skilled people with the ability and knowledge of how to remove barriers to localisation.
“Supplier competitiveness requires a relentless quest to drive out waste. Therefore, a skillset is needed that enables problem-solving using the appropriate methodology,” he notes, adding that many continuous improvement processes or quality improvement tools need analytical and technical skills.
Singh reveals that ASCCI has adopted a new approach characterised by tackling the crosscutting barriers to localisation and adopting Industry 4.0 methodologies to keep pace with global practices. The most pertinent of these barriers are access to technology and the development of local testing infrastructure.
Both of these barriers exist as a direct consequence of a lack of appropriate domestic skills.
“Many South African suppliers do not have access to the appropriate technologies required for them to unlock new localisation and supply into OEM value chains,” Singh notes