The change in the automotive industry towards alternative drive technologies and the challenging geopolitical situation pose major challenges for vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. Efficient and networked processes are decisive success factors today and in the future. REHAU | Automotive therefore placed the entire value chain under the joint leadership of COO Michael Colberg.
Since January 2022, REHAU | Automotive has been an independent subgroup of the REHAU Group. In February, the automotive supplier merged development, supply chain management, quality and production under the leadership of Michael Colberg, COO REHAU | Automotive. Colberg is thus responsible for the entire value chain of the specialist for painted and functional polymer systems. "By integrating development, we are creating an even closer link between the divisions. By taking this step, we are laying the foundation for an efficient and synchronized value chain at a very early stage," says the 58-year-old, explaining the advantages resulting from the structural changes. Colberg has been responsible for the operational Automotive business since February 2020.
Automotive manufacturers demand the highest quality and full flexibility at the best cost. "We have used the past two difficult years to make ourselves fit for the future," explains the COO. The company also focused in particular on production. In Viechtach in Lower Bavaria, for example, the company is currently investing in a continuous, synchronous production system. In the future, this will not only give REHAU | Automotive more flexibility to respond to customer requests, but will also streamline processes at the plant. In the second southern German plant in Feuchtwangen, the so-called Smart Factory is currently being created. "We are using intelligent automation with end-to-end digitalization to create a networked and fully flexible, and therefore highly efficient, factory," says Colberg. The automotive supplier is creating new global standards at its plant in Brake, Lower Saxony. Thanks to a flow line, maximum flexibility in terms of quantity and variance will be possible in the future. And at the Moravska Trebova plant in the Czech Republic, the company is currently building the most modern, fully integrated production system for medium-size painted components. "In the future, components will run here according to "One Piece Flow" directly from injection molding to the booth paint line and from there to assembly. In this way, the total throughput time in production can be reduced from previously days to just a few hours.
"For these projects to succeed, all disciplines have to work hand in hand in a team - from development to our suppliers to our production," says Colberg, who ensures this thanks to joint management across the entire value-added process.