The new Honda Civic, unveiled for the summer 2005 launch, showed the auto industry how revolutionary a car manufacturing process can become. Honda’s East Liberty, Ohio, plant, the company’s highest-volume producer of the Civic, along with engineers such as Chris Poland, chief engineer for the Americans, and East Liberty Plant Manager John Pleiman helped to revolutionize the design and development of Honda’s new line of Civics.
The engineers working on the new model of the Civic found a way to gather all of the engineers from the various manufacturing plants and countries to travel to one place for one meeting. In this meeting, the engineers all communicated through headsets which would translate the numerous languages (Chinese, Japanese, and Thai, among others) into English and then into the desired language for each group of engineers.
In order to help foster understanding of ideas and improvement plans, the teams relied on animation artists and computers. The ideas were illustrated as digital 3-D animated clips, and the clips could then be loaded into the shop-floor laptops and e-mailed to engineers around the globe. In this way, engineers all over the world could see the ideas in action to fully understand the concepts. This project alone dealt with more than four thousand design changes. However, it was estimated to reduce overall travel time by at least 30 percent, and one department in Ohio cited cutting travel in half. When travel was still necessary, the time spent was greatly reduced.
This year, Honda has released a new model of the Honda Civic while also releasing a new way of developing strategies to revolutionize the way Civics are created.