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HSV revamps entire software backbone

Connections: HSV managing director Tim Jackson (centre) with federal industry, science and technology minister Karen Andrews and HSV owner and director Ryan Walkinshaw.

Siemens IT system transforms HSV’s operations as government backs hi-tech processes

19 Nov 2019

HOLDEN Special Vehicles (HSV) is continuing to expand its operations in Australia, overhauling its entire design and production system by replacing several disparate IT systems with a single Siemens system that provides a unified backbone for everything from design and engineering at one end to aftersales servicing at the other.


The Teamcenter software system acts like a supercharger on a V8, producing a claimed 20 per cent improvement in backroom efficiencies by ending duplication in data entry and time delays in bringing various operations up to the same level of data accuracy.


It also speeds communications with suppliers, dealers and customers.


HSV received assistance with installation of the new system from the federal government-backed Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) and has signed up to be an advocate for the digitisation of manufacturing processes and the adoption of new technologies generally.


The Teamcenter system was unveiled last week at HSV’s headquarters and factory in Clayton South, south-east of Melbourne, with the reborn Holden performance car brand – now a fast-growing niche vehicle enhancement and remanufacturing business – visited by self-confessed “revhead” and Ayrton Senna tragic, the federal minister for industry, science and technology Karen Andrews.


The minister said the digitisation of HSV’s complete vehicle manufacturing operation was an example of the way forward for Australian manufacturers.


“Manufacturing is going to be different going forward and automotive is a great example of where we have been able to work in a very niche market,” she said after taking to the wheel of one of HSV’s locally converted Chevrolet Camaros.


“These HSV vehicles are being brought in from overseas, in left-hand drive. They’ve been fully converted to right-hand drive, so HSV has actually struck gold with the market here. A lot of work has gone into making sure they are building a very niche, but very high quality product that is in demand.”


HSV has expanded rapidly in the past two years, moving from its old premises with a single production line to an all-new $30m-plus factory and office complex at Walkinshaw Park in Clayton South, Melbourne, where it now operates four production lines covering the Camaro sportscar and Chevrolet Silverado pick-up, Holden’s Colorado SportsCat and, on behalf of the Ateco Group, the Ram pick-up truck.


HSV managing director Tim Jackson told GoAuto that the company needed a new answer thanks to its recent rapid expansion in product range and the extra complexity that comes with converting three of the four models to right-hand drive.


“Right now we have around 350 people, with one of our lines operating 24 hours a day to keep up with demand,” he said.


“The remanufacturing process requires significantly more work to the vehicles than when we were producing the Commodore. This software will make a big difference to the flow of information across our organisation and will connect everyone through a centralised digital thread.”


Each of HSV’s products requires between 350 and 600 new parts, each of which can now be traced from the suppliers’ plants to the dealers’ parts stores.


“In order to bring these new vehicles to life, we have nearly twice the engineers and five times the manufacturing team than when we rolled the last Commodore off the line,” Mr Jackson said.


He added that when an HSV engineer needs to design or modify a part, the supplier can see the changes in real time and understand what the new requirement is and lodge a quote with the HSV procurement team.


“Previously we had to update three different systems with that part change. Now we change that part upstream and it flows automatically through all the systems so the guy on the line will see updated instructions around that part,” he said.


“We still need to do training but this system includes instructions on how to fit the part and it can also do blown-out diagrams.”


The streamlining of the backroom operations of any manufacturer was critical to success, according to AMGC managing director Jens Goennemann.


The AMGC played a key role in the adoption and installation of the HSV digital upgrade.


“Assembly is basically what we do with Ikea products or Lego products, when we put a set together,” he told us. “That is basically what the car industry was doing in Australia.


“There are seven stages in the manufacturing process and assembly is the part that adds the lowest value.


“What happens before production and after production is the higher value-adding part. This is where Australia needs to move and this is what we are demonstrating with projects like this.”

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