The Future of Honda Manufacturing - Strategy and Planning

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The Future Of Honda Manufacturing - strategy and planning The 2001 Civic is the first vehicle to use Honda 's new flexible manufacturing process. It 's a bold vision, but is success really in the cards? For the past two decades, automakers around me world have analyzed Honda 's manufacturing methods, visited its facilities, benchmarked its operations and copied its moves. During the late 1980s, Chrysler Corp. executives even talked openly about the "Honda study," which was a blatant effort to duplicate the best of the Japanese automaker 's manufacturing techniques. But in fact, Honda typically obliged any competitor that wanted a first-hand look at its operations. Now that it has made the world comfortable with its old process, Honda…show more content…
Lastly, the planning stage determined what machinery, robotics, welders, delivery systems and line configuration would be established to not only build Civic, but also accommodate vehicles larger and smaller without making massive investments. Establishing this range of motion, capability and programming in the machinery was critical; every future vehicle Honda designs will fall within this manufacturing envelope. Once identified, Honda outfitted all of its volume production plants with as close-to-identical machinery and layout as was practical. Where lines could not be made identical without tear-up and prohibitive investment, limitations of the least flexible line in the system determined the range for a given station. Building Civic and Beyond "I can 't demonstrate the actual flexibility because we 'll be running flat out on just Civic, as far out as I can see," says Tom Shoupe, plant manager at Honda 's East Liberty Plant (ELP) in Ohio. "But I can tell you we are further along at this point in time using this new process than we were on a traditional launch. We 're very happy with output and quality." Even to a trained eye, East Liberty 's assembly line looks relatively unchanged from previous visits because it so closely fit Honda 's global model plant to begin with. (For plants that were less ideal than ELP, the changes would surface as

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