Seat control tower

Spanish OEM Seat has a new control tower to manage the real-time location of more than 16m parts used every day at the company’s Martorell assembly plant near Barcelona, to make around 2,300 cars a day.

A key feature is a videowall divided into different screens displaying constantly updated numbers, graphs, maps with itineraries and codes. An associated app monitors the exact location of each part in connection with production needs.

As the OEM states: “A car is a giant puzzle where every part and component is essential, so it’s vital to know where each one is and whether it will arrive on time.”

Project director David Castilla said: “This will be the first time that Seat will have real-time information on the flow of material, transit operation alerts and production material consumption. 

“Information that used to take hours and several phone calls to obtain will now be updated in seconds … We strive to monitor everything possible, from supplier stocks to production line events, transportation and logistics centres.”

With around 200,000 core figures updated daily, the resulting data forms the basis for predictive tools to solve incidents before they occur. “We can successfully anticipate production needs well in advance,” said Castilla.

The company’s vice-president for production and logistics, Christian Vollmer, said: “This ground-breaking Seat project shows the capacity of the logistics and production team in the ongoing digital transformation of our processes.

“It has taken a great effort, but we can say that after 26 weeks [of setting up the new control tower], we’ve made a huge leap that is going to benefit our customers, as they will have access to all the essential information about their vehicle and delivery times.”

Customers are able to reconfigure their vehicles, even after placing their order, thanks to the new system housed in Martorell’s logistics centre, according to Seat.

Castilla added: “The direct benefits are for the customers, as we can assure them of a delivery date by knowing exactly that the parts of their car will be available on its scheduled manufacturing date.”

Seat also argues that the environment stands to benefit from the project as it improves itineraries of in-bound supplies. An app gives truck drivers’ location and features an estimated time of arrival. In future stages, predictive weather tools will be implemented to offer alternative routes and shorten the time spent on the road, making them more efficient and less contaminating.

The control centre was one of four winners of the Seat Innovation Day, held this week, which highlights the most innovative, employee-driven projects. A total of 20 projects were shortlisted.