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Project Case Study: General Motors Supplier Park

Optimize Equipment and Space Requirements for a New Assembly Parts Supply System

Supplier Park Simulation

With operations scheduled to begin in early 2010, GM required a Supplier Park Simulation to support the implementation of a planned new process at their Oshawa Car Assembly Plant (OCAP).

The Supplier Park, which would be converted from the existing Truck Plant at OCAP, consolidates storage and distribution of parts from various suppliers. The impact of the new system would reduce truck congestion within the complex, reduce in plant inventories, and streamline the parts replenishment process.

However, the new bulk delivery process needed to be examined in order to investigate the resource requirements at OCAP, including:

Supplier Park Simulation - Current System
  • Dock storage space,
  • Shunt trucks,
  • Trailers,and
  • Drivers.

The success of the project required a full understanding of the requirements of the new logistics system working within the confines of the existing campus and road infrastructure. Given the dynamics of the process and interdependencies in the system, simulation modeling was chosen to help answer questions such as:

  • How many Shunter trucks would be needed?
  • What level of buffer inventory should be carried at each supply point?
  • What is the sensitivity of the system to traffic delays?
  • How do assembly mix changes, weather changes, etc. affect the system?
    System Screenshots - Capacity planning simulation modeling project

    Visual8 developed a comprehensive Supplier Park Simulation that simulated the entire process within the Oshawa Car Assembly Plant. The simulation model kept track of all parts in the system and the consumption rates based on the daily broadcast. Simulation inputs included:

    • Equipment volume,
    • Deliveries per shift,
    • Rails shunt delay and
    • Shunter travel delay.

    The corresponding outcomes were then examined.

    Supplier Park Simulation Model - Component

    The tool allowed for the experimentation and optimization of ROP/ROQ levels by part and generated efficient and feasible loads for the containers, as well as taking into account feasible stacking of dollies. The model also simulated the movement of shunter trucks around the campus and accounted for any interference in the route or at the receiving docks.

    The simulation was also capable of modeling the supply of parts to the assembly lines by the tow motors ensuring that thresholds of delivery times were respected. Any shortages of parts within the system could be immediately identified and logged as feedback to prompt the user to adjust the lead time in that area.

    Performance Report - Capacity planning simulation modeling project

    The Supplier Park Simulation model allowed GM to perform scenario analyses before implementing a new supply process. Valuable reports on the expected equipment performance and parts replenishment service levels included:

    • Tugger, shunter, and forklift load or trip counts
    • Average dolly train length
    • Dock utilization and delivery service level
    • Equipment utilization
    • Inventory level

    The following questions on equipment and space requirements for supporting the new Supplier Park configuration were addressed:

    • What is the optimum reorder point or reorder quantity for parts?
    • What amount of space is required to satisfy staging of loaded dollies, and full and empty containers on the dock?
    • What is the Tugger driver utilization and how many are required?
    • How many forklift trucks are needed to support the load and unload processes?
    • How much space is required at the docks to store containers and dollies?
    • What is stackability of containers and the resultant space utilization?

    “The implementation has been a tremendous success. The results of your simulation were an excellent guide towards the superb implementation that we experienced in my area. We have reported $3.6 million/year savings per year and your simulation was critical for a good part of this. In addition, critical floor space was saved inside the Plant which is supporting the introduction of new programs.” – Victor DiCarlo, Sr. Engineer.


    Supplier Park Simulation Model - ComponentSupplier Park Simulation Model with Component

    Supplier Park Simulation ModelCapacity planning simulation parts input

    Capacity planning simulation equipment inputCapacity planning simulation allocation

    Parts Report - Capacity planning simulation modeling projectPerformance Report - Capacity planning simulation modeling project