Toyota Tsusho has embarked on a major new investment in Laverton North (Victoria), to improve the supply chain management of steel for the Toyota Motor Corporation Australia (Toyota Australia) assembly plant. SYSPRO 6.0 has been chosen to manage the financial, manufacturing and distribution operations of the new venture.
Established under the company TT Steel Centre Australia, the new operation will supply all of car panel blanks in the Toyota Camry car assembly. The new operation will be the fifth of Toyota Tsusho’s blank supply sites globally; the others being located in Kentucky (USA) , Thailand and Guangzhou & Tianjin (P.R.C.).
The Toyota Australia Camry plant is a substantial manufacturing operation, exporting even more cars to the Middle East and Asia, than are produced for its local market in Australia.
Toyota Tsusho will supply flat blanks to Toyota Australia, which in turn presses these shapes into door, roof, chassis and other car panels. Currently steel sheet is being purchased from steel mills, the new plant will instead purchase coils directly, allowing the steel mills to focus on steel production rather than downstream processing. Improvements in supply chain efficiency are expected. Additionally, by outsourcing some of its blank pressing, Toyota gains capacity within its own press shop with the elimination of this operation.
The scale of the manufacturing operations is massive. Toyota Tsusho will source master coils from steel mills weighing up to 15 to 25 tonnes each, and up to just under two metres wide. The coils are unrolled then slit (cutting lengthways) and sheared (cutting across the width). The cut sheets are pressed into flat blanks of curved, trapezoid, die shaped or square pieces of metal, and then on-sold to Toyota Australia to make up the Camry cars.
Crucially, Toyota Australia operates on a Just-In-Time (JIT) and Kanban system, and it must be receiving parts continuously to maintain production. It is envisaged that Toyota Tsusho’s SYSPRO system will ultimately communicate directly with Toyota Australia’s various systems including its SAP data.
Toyota Australia currently produce around 460 Camry’s per day. With the discontinuation of the Avalon vehicle in June 2006, coupled with various manufacturing process changes, additional capacity is achieved and now enables production of just over 500 vehicles per day.
The Toyota Tsusho system will operate a number of electronic Kanbans which are replenished by using barcoding to track product movements. The need for Toyota Tsusho to be a flawless supplier in the automotive industry is clearly apparent.
The blanking line alone is a AUD$15m investment involving the set up of a coil feed line with a series of rollers & levellers, a Komatsu press and purpose-built stacker to accumulate the parts into Kanban packs. When fully operational, around 120 different shapes and pieces will be produced at (run rate) 500 pieces per day to match the Camry vehicle build.
With such a sizeable investment, a key challenge is to have the plant operational as quickly as possible and to maintain optimal efficiency. Implementation of SYSPRO began in December 2004 and the financials modules went live in July 2005. Construction of the plant buildings was completed by mid 2005 and assembly operations are expected to start just several months after that.
The new operations will use SYSPRO's Engineering Change Control. With Toyota making ongoing improvements to its cars, there is a need to mirror these in tandem at the Toyota Tsusho plant, he explains.
SYSPRO's Lot Traceability module will be another important SYSPRO module. The auto industry demands quality assurance and ISO requirements. When there is a need to have a product recall, this will require the ability to trace panels back and identify the steel that has come from steel mills.
SYSPRO's e.net connectivity will allow the system to be kept open for communicating with both Toyota Australia and its steel mill suppliers.
Toyota is renowned for quality and with the operational success expected by Toyota Tsusho, it is envisaged there will be expansion to supply other car manufacturers in the longer term.