General Motors has developed a user interface for its factory systems that has transformed its factories from highly manual, isolated places into more collaborative environments. The Assembly Processing System bridges the gap between engineering and manufacturing users. Its interactive software frees users from time previously spent on step-by-step communication and laborious manual tasks, like compiling inconsistent spreadsheets.
The system has an information portal that contains engineering part specifications, process and quality mandates, and local process specifications. The portal ties in social media, including blog-like information sharing. The system also provides mashups of some previously unavailable data streams.
GM credits the system with assembly time reductions of 15% annually, resulting in savings of several million dollars per plant. The company plans to sell the system commercially next year to other manufacturers.