Honda Civic -- Development Process
The 2001 Civic is the first Honda to be launched almost simultaneously around the world in more than 10 different countries. To do so, Honda had to "Think Locally, Act Globally." This was accomplished by combining the capabilities of Honda's autonomous business regions with global coordination through the New Model Center and New Manufacturing System.
A major challenge in planning this nearly simultaneous Civic launch was ensuring a consistent level of quality around the world. To meet this challenge, Honda established the New Model Center in Tochigi, Japan. From the earliest stages of development, manufacturing associates from Civic plants gathered at the New Model Center to provide critical input on the Civic development.
Thousands of suggestions generated by the various plants on how to best build the new Civic to a higher quality standard were brought together into a single database at the New Model Center. Civic engineers were able to access this information during the development process and associates tested the results while assembling prototypes.
Through this process, the design team was able to create a vehicle that can be produced on a global basis with high quality, efficiency and at a lower investment. This is true at both the large, highly automated plants in Japan, the U.S. and Europe, and at smaller, less automated plans located in developing nations. This approach helped allow for the global launch of the Civic, while improving quality and delivering superior value to customers all over the world.
The new Civic is the first global model to be built using Honda's New Manufacturing System. The system employs highly flexible welding robots and standardized assembly line layouts to reduce investment in new tooling, while shortening the time needed for new model development and manufacturing ramp up. This flexible system will also allow Honda to adapt more quickly to changes in the marketplace with the production capability to add or change products in a short period of time, with minimal new investment.
Honda also applied a new development system called Digital Manufacturing Circle (DMC). This new automobile development system uses state of the art Information Technology systems to increase the speed and efficiency of the new model development process. The DMC system connects all the processes of Honda R&D, Honda Manufacturing and Honda suppliers by computer network, allowing them to share the same computer digitized drawings to develop new product designs through digital simulation. As a result, Honda is able to develop new vehicles in a shorter time using fewer costly prototype models and parts.