Au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try in SA has lifted up its game

Qual­ity, re­li­a­bil­ity on the rise

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Roy Cokayne

SOUTH Africa’s au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try has sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved its per­for­mance over the last 10 years in a num­ber of key ar­eas, in­clud­ing cost con­trol, qual­ity and some mea­sures of re­li­a­bil­ity, ac­cord­ing to re­search con­ducted by the South African Au­to­mo­tive Bench­mark­ing Club (Saabc).

The re­search re­port said the fo­cus of the cost con­trol driver was on the in­dus­try’s abil­ity to man­age in­ven­tory and over­all to­tal in­ven­tory hold­ing stock lev­els had im­proved by an im­pres­sive 38.2 per­cent over the past 10 years.

It said a re­view of fin­ished goods, work in progress and raw ma­te­rial stock lev­els for the pe­riod from 2006 un­til 2015 high­lighted a sim­i­lar im­prove­ment as for to­tal stock, with fin­ished goods im­prov­ing by 38 per­cent, work in progress by 54.8 per­cent and raw ma­te­ri­als by 32.9 per­cent in this pe­riod.

Turn­ing to cus­tomer qual­ity, the re­port said the over­all im­prove­ment over the 10-year pe­riod was “a very im­pres­sive” 93.1 per­cent or 1 124 parts per mil­lion (ppm). It said cus­tomer re­turn rates were 1 208ppm in 2006, im­proved to 865ppm in 2007 and fur­ther to 788ppm in 2008, an im­prove­ment of 34.8 per­cent in this pe­riod.

The re­port found cus­tomer qual­ity im­proved to 193ppm in 2013, 130ppm in 2014 and 84ppm in 2015, an im­prove­ment of 56.5 per­cent or 109ppm. Sup­plier rates im­proved 82.9 per­cent over the 10-year pe­riod.

Cus­tomer de­liv­ery per­for­mance, mea­sured as on time and in-full (OTIF), de­te­ri­orated 27.3 per­cent to 8.2 per­cent in 2008 from 6.4 per­cent in 2006. How­ever, the level im­proved by 37.3 per­cent from 2013 to 2015, with the over­all im­prove­ment in the 10-year pe­riod at 70 per­cent.

The re­port said that no­table im­prove­ments were also ap­par­ent when re­view­ing in­ter­nal re­li­a­bil­ity mea­sures, in­clud­ing time lost be­cause of tool­ing and ma­chine break­downs and to the un­avail­abil­ity of tool­ing ma­te­rial.

Sup­plier de­liv­ery per­for­mance was one area where the per­for­mance de­te­ri­orated, with OTIF lev­els de­clin­ing 9.8 per­cent to 10.34 per­cent in 2015 from 9.4 per­cent in 2006.

Sean El­lis, who com­piled the re­port for the Saabc, said the coun­try’s au­to­mo­tive com­po­nent in­dus­try had def­i­nitely im­proved its per­for­mance over the last decade.

The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Au­to­mo­tive Com­po­nent and Al­lied Man­u­fac­tur­ers of SA (Naa­cam) said the sig­nif­i­cant per­for­mance im­prove­ments showed the in­dus­try was en­hanc­ing the coun­try’s rep­u­ta­tion as a com­pet­i­tive global au­to­mo­tive pro­ducer.

Dave Cof­fey, the pres­i­dent of Naa­cam, said there was a need to ac­knowl­edge what had been achieved but, most im­por­tantly, the re­port sug­gested that dif­fi­cult tar­gets, pre­vi­ously con­sid­ered unattain­able, could and must be reached.

Re­nai Moothilal, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Naa­cam, said the qual­ity im­prove­ments statistics were telling.

In a veiled ref­er­ence to the Ford Kuga fire is­sue, he said: “In a week where au­to­mo­tive qual­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues have come to the fore, ev­i­dence is be­ing brought to bear that South African com­po­nent pro­duc­ers are mak­ing huge strides.”

The ca­pa­bil­i­ties of South Africa’s au­to­mo­tive com­po­nent man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try will be show­cased at the Naa­cam Show, be­ing held in con­junc­tion with the Na­tional Lo­cal­i­sa­tion Ind­aba, in Dur­ban from April 5 to 7.

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