In October 2020, Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) recorded highest ever domestic sales of 56,605 cars and exports of 12,230 cars (total: 68,835), on the back of pentup demand and new cars. “To keep up with the rising month-on-month demand after the lockdown, the manufacturing plant worked super-efficiently,” says Ganesh Mani S, director, Production, HMIL. In an interview with FE’s Vikram Chaudhary, he adds that during the lockdown there
was a lot of focus on digital mockup and mixed reality to ensure none of the company’s car launches got delayed.
Did the lockdown slow HMIL down?
It’s the opposite. In fact, initially the line of thought was whether work from home as a concept will be workable in a manufacturing company or not? But I think a few months after the lockdown we can even tell software engineers how best one can utilise working from home. For example, none four model launches planned for this year got delayed because we utilised the lockdown time to experiment with technologies such as digital mock up and mixed reality; these, essentially, quicken product development.
How did knowledge and staff exchange take place between HMIL and Hyundai Motor Company (HMC)?
Earlier, especially for new product development, HMIL staff used to travel to HMC SouthKorea, and vice versa, and that travel obviously got reduced. For For example, for the all-new i20, new equipment was needed to be installed during the month of May. We, instead, did digital pre-assembly to check everything was correct. In May, during the lockdown, HMIL staff was able to convert the entire line into i20-ready, with 70% fewer ex-pats. Now, we are atmanirbhar (self-reliant)in terms of installing machinery and equipment. We were able to become extremely flexible; for example, as the all-new Creta saw huge demand, our own people were able to do 40% capacity augmentation. Lastly, we worked a lot digitally with our local vendors. In fact, we launched the maximum number of new models and facelifts this year—the year of the lockdown.
How was product testing carried out?
Again taking the example of the all new i20, we will offer more than 50 connected car features in it and these needed to be pre-checked and tested. On the mainline, we have 7,800 checkpoints; we made good use of the Hyundai automatic diagnostic system—it checks all electrical connectivity in a car.
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