The Interiors Business Group of Forvia, the global automotive supplier, recently began a digital journey that will transform its plants. The ambition is to become the industry leader in material flow management, transformation, and assembly. To kickstart the process, Forvia Interiors partnered with BCG and created a digital lighthouse in its plant in Tarazona, Spain.
Jean-Paul Michel, Executive Vice President of Interiors for Faurecia, recently sat down with BCG Managing Director & Partner Alexandre Miannay at Forvia’s headquarter in Nanterre, France. He detailed how this vision became a reality.
Learn how Forvia Interiors is planning for the road ahead in this interview.
BCG: Why did you launch the plant digitization program?
Jean-Paul Michel: We wanted to achieve a breakthrough in the performance of our plants and we launched a dedicated digitalization program called Interiors 4.0 to unlock it. Our ambition is to be the leader in our industry in material transformation, assembly, and material flow management.
The lighthouse plant approach has three objectives:
BCG: What were the cornerstones of your program?Jean-Paul Michel:
- It is a platform to ignite innovation in our manufacturing processes.
- It also sets the standards for the future of Forvia manufacturing operations.
- As a digital school, it ensures that our best practices are deployed throughout our footprint.
We defined a bold vision for the digitalization of our manufacturing operations and we implemented it in one of our plants in record time—less than eight months. The digital lighthouse is based on four transformative pillars:
BCG: Can you talk about the results and impact on Forvia Interiors’ manufacturing operations?Jean-Paul Michel:
- Automation: We automated the material flow end-to-end, from inbound transportation through handling and visual control to truck loading. We are talking about seven different use cases that leverage automated guided vehicles, advanced robots, and artificial intelligence to detect quality issues.
- Data and Digitalization: Full data transparency in production and the supply chain enables predictive analytics to optimize production.
- Structural Change: Full automation and digitalization, end-to-end, are key enablers to improve the productivity and density of our layouts and increase our plant’s output by 60% or more.
- Sustainability: We also implemented green initiatives to decarbonize operations and unlock energy efficiency savings through operational excellence.
The lighthouse implementation has proven to deliver breakthrough impact, resulting in significant gross margin improvement. The factory of the future model is a game-changer for our industrial strategy and all our factories. We are now rolling it out to flagship plants across all regions. BCG: What were the key success factors to conduct this ambitious program?Jean-Paul Michel:
We mobilized our best internal capabilities across all functions of the Forvia organization as well as complementary external partners. The close collaboration with BCG in particular strongly contributed to our success. We leveraged their expertise to define the future of our operations, to kickstart our ideation phase, and to bring it to reality in the lighthouse plant.Alexandre Miannay (BCG):
We partnered with Forvia along three steps:
- We supported the Interiors leadership team to define a breakthrough ambition for their digitization journey, leveraging our Digital Immersion Center in Paris.
- We then worked hand in hand with the Forvia manufacturing team to implement 30 of the most transformative use cases in the lighthouse plant.
- We are now involved in the global scaling and rollout of those new standards beyond the lighthouse plant.