SUNDERLAND, UK - The most efficient car manufacturing operation in Europe is against outsourcing of modules.
'If a supplier delivers large subassemblies you have lost control,' said Ian Gibson, managing director of Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK Ltd.
Sunderland outsources 70 percent of the car's value, and makes only a few components in-house (plastic fuel tanks, rear axles and cylinder heads).
But it wants only components, not subassemblies.
'The highest quality, lowest cost and best technology' come from suppliers, said Gibson. 'No company would dream of making its own fuel injection pumps or injectors, we all leave that to the likes of Bosch.'
But if a manufacturer outsources subassemblies, said Gibson, 'your ability to achieve world-class quality and cost is diluted.'
Outsourcing is incompatible with continuous effort for leaner manufacturing because sharing goals across companies is more difficult than doing it within one company.
'Control of assembly quality and problem investigation are both made significantly more complex,' he said, and 'the subassembly concept inevitably means more handling, and so cost. In the race to be world class, the best will not accept necessary evils, they will eliminate them.'