South Australian Holden engineer recognised at innovation awards

A Holden engineer based at the Elizabeth assembly plant was awarded the Bronze Award for Engineering Excellence by the Society of Automotive Engineers – Australasia (SAE-A), for developing a throughput improvement system for manufacturing optimisation at Holden.

The award – which was presented as part of Australian Automotive Week – recognised Holden Manager of Virtual Engineering, Greg Linke, for designing, developing and implementing the throughput improvement system.

Called the Bottleneck Indicator Tool, the system is a web-based management set-up which has the ability to analyse data from the shop floor identifying manufacturing system constraints, and publishing live reports to Holden’s intranet for monitoring and management.

The Bottleneck Indicator Tool employs the Analytical Buffer Method, which Linke developed on the principle that if the buffer before a workzone is generally full, and the buffer after a workzone is generally empty, that workzone represents a system bottleneck. 

“From what started as a need to identify bottlenecks in the plant, this system has evolved far beyond that to the point where we now have an intimate understanding of exactly where we need to focus our people to improve overall system efficiency as quickly as possible,” said Linke.

“We can no longer afford to just ‘keep the plant running’ – we need to optimise everything we do and we need to be agile. This is just the beginning of developing intelligent business systems that will play a big role in our manufacturing strategy going forward.”

Holden Executive Director of Manufacturing, Martyn Cray praised the initiative and hard work of Greg to implement the tool at the plant.

“The Bottleneck Indicator Tool has been a very valuable asset to our manufacturing operations. In manufacturing time is money, where the smallest of blocks in the process can disrupt the flow of a plant. Greg’s initiative and development of the program has saved Holden both time and money,” he said.

“It is great to celebrate and share the stories of the great work of our talented engineers are doing at the plant and awards such the Automotive Engineering Excellence Awards are key to this.”