Hoping to streamline its design and production processes, FuYao Glass wanted to migrate its operations to a private cloud environment.
Using an IBM Cloud Private platform, the business created a virtualized factory environment to control its research, development, manufacturing and logistics efforts.
75% reductionin research and development (R&D) design cycles, reducing timelines from 24 to 6 months
Resolving ≈80% of issuesrelated to quality, efficiency and cost with a simulated factory model
50% cutin manpower costs through unified collaboration
Business challenge story
From "manufacturing" to "intelligent creation"
The automotive industry has a long industrial chain. From the initial design to the final product, a car may require tens of thousands of auto parts and thousands of individual parts manufacturers—all of which need to collaborate in the research and development (R&D) process. And more complicated automotive systems often need more than two years and large financial investments to fully develop.
In this internet age, speed is critical for success. This is certainly the case in the automotive industry, where smart driving technologies are beginning to distinguish market leaders. But with an industry built around extended development periods, these innovations were taking far too long, forcing manufacturers like FuYao Glass to begin searching for a means to shorten development cycles.
As early as 2015, Cao Dewang, Chairman of FuYao Glass, proposed to migrate the organization to an Industry 4.0 operating model, establishing the business as an automotive leader in China. In particular, FuYao Glass wanted to simplify the data and production bottlenecks that plagued its enterprise architecture by transitioning to a cloud-based platform.
However, for traditional manufacturing companies, migrating to a public cloud can be challenging. The amount of data generated by current automotive manufacturing processes has grown to be several thousand times larger than comparable processes from even a decade ago. And all of this dynamic, frequently accessed production information needs to be available in a real-time capacity—a challenge that few cloud service providers can meet with a reasonable price tag.
Facing these limitations, FuYao Glass chose to develop its own cloud environment. “It was a very difficult decision to make,” recalls Xia Le Bing, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at FuYao Glass, “because we would need to redesign several applications for the new environment—applications that we had already invested heavily to develop.” But after several internal discussions, the business concluded that these applications would have to be replaced eventually even without a cloud migration, leading the firm to forge ahead with the transition.
“The new business systems needed to be developed in the cloud,” explains Le Bing. “But these changes will go step by step. We needed an architecture, as well as data interfaces, that could make use of our existing technologies while enabling future services to be reused and shared.”
In particular, FuYao Glass intended to deploy innovations for big data, AI, microservices, DeVops technologies and an agile development model, but the business needed a reliable cloud architecture that could accommodate these various technologies.
Problem-solving with the cloud
After careful consideration, FuYao Glass chose the IBM Cloud Private platform. “We are moving to intelligent manufacturing,” explains Le Bing, “and the IBM Cloud gives us the agility and confidence to respond to changes within the market.”
The IBM solution delivered an open-source architecture that can readily accommodate future innovations and that offered the firm its choice of cloud services. “We expect that this cloud platform will have strong capabilities in the industry,” adds Le Bing. “And will continue to add new technologies.”
FuYao Glass was also pleased with the data security and reliability that the IBM Cloud Private environment provided. And the management tools that the solution offered help the firm to streamline oversight and integration of its existing, disparate production systems.
The company’s transition to an Industry 4.0 strategy included three key integrations—horizontal integration among companies, vertical integration among production processes and end-to-end integration throughout the value chain. For its horizontal integration efforts, the firm implemented a manufacturing portal, and it deployed an enterprise service bus (ESB) for its vertical integration. The migration to the IBM solution will help to achieve the final integration required, facilitating unified business process management (BPM) across systems and departments.
To accomplish this cloud migration, both IBM and FuYao Glass worked closely with IBM Business Partner Chongqing SOA. As a first step, the Chongqing SOA team oversaw the migration of the glass company’s research and development and 3-D design tools to the cloud environment. And the firm is currently working to transition its manufacturing intelligent software (MIS), delivery and product lifecycle management tools to microservices operating within the cloud.
Global collaboration, competitive strength
With the help of the IBM Cloud Private solution, FuYao Glass has established a more innovative R&D environment, enabling customers, partners and associated parts manufacturers to collaborate on projects within a unified, 3-D digital-analog environment. And the firm’s design teams are now much more efficient, as users can make changes to the same architecture no matter their department or location.
In addition, FuYao Glass has built an end-to-end intelligent collaborative platform that integrates dozens of heterogeneous IT systems, enabling decision makers to observe, catalog and redeploy resources through a unified view. Altogether, the firm has cut its R&D development cycles from the previous two-year average to less than six months, with some projects being completed in only two months.
These improvements strengthen the organization’s competitive standing, placing FuYao Glass in a strong position to expand its operations globally. The unified processes and management consoles supported by the IBM solution can quickly scale, so the business will only need to consider staffing and training for its growth plans. And the new solution will help to centralize design processes, leading to a 50 percent reduction in labor costs.
"The IBM Cloud platform can integrate our technological capabilities under a unified framework, greatly reducing the traditional implementation challenges,” adds Le Bing. “So we can move to intelligent manufacturing as soon as possible and focus on our actual business of making glass and delivering value to our customers."
Finally, the IBM solution will allow FuYao Glass to build a 3-D virtual factory to simulate R&D, manufacturing, logistics and IT development efforts. Through these simulations, the firm anticipates resolving more than 80 percent of its quality, efficiency and cost problems before they manifest in the real world.
FuYao Glass Industry Group Co., Ltd.
With a net profit of RMB 3.15 billion in 2017 and boasting glass in two out of every three cars manufactured in the nation, FuYao Glass is the largest producer of automotive glass in China. The business, headquartered in Fuzhou, was founded in 1987 and expanded operations to accommodate global customers in 2017.
About Chongqing SOA Information Technology Co., Ltd.
Founded in 2008, Chongqing SOA, an IBM Business Partner, offers technology support services to high-end manufacturers. In particular, the firm focuses on application, device, enterprise and industrial integration projects.
Take the next step
To learn more about the IBM solution featured in this story, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website:
To learn more about its integration solutions and what Chongqing SOA can do for you, please visit: Chongqing SOA Information Technology Co., Ltd.