Dana Corporation vice president of structural systems Bruce Butcher has urged suppliers and original equipment manufacturers alike to fully embrace lean manufacturing principles and new lean technologies to shorten the automotive order fulfillment cycle and move toward the “x-day car.”

Butcher was speaking at the 37th annual University of Michigan Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan.

“The next breakthrough in lean manufacturing will result from an entire supply chain practicing lean principles. Open communication, knowledge sharing, and trust between original equipment manufacturers and Tier I suppliers and, in turn, between Tier Is and their key suppliers will extend lean benefits from individual production facilities throughout the supply chain,” Butcher said.

“In addition to the lean basics, new technologies also hold significant benefits for the industry,” he added.

“Reduced manufacturing steps and improved flexibility and process flow from technologies such as lasers, hydroforming, and magnetic-pulse welding have the potential to increase responsiveness to consumers’ demands.

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“Manipulating tubing for upper structures through new hydroforming and joining technologies will enable the engineering of space frames for modular assembly.

“This in turn will shorten order fulfilment by changing the traditional body shop process of stamping and spot-welding steel sheets,” Butcher added.