Empowering People in the Porsche Production 4.0 Ecosystem

Fueled by a dramatically changing technological landscape, increasing complexity, and a growing awareness of sustainability issues, the automotive industry is poised for major disruption. One of several key challenges facing carmakers is building the right skills within the organization and preparing the workforce for advanced manufacturing. To empower its employees to work in the Production 4.0 ecosystem, Porsche offers them a range of advanced training programs, including a recently built Smart Factory room.

With the automotive world undergoing an unprecedented transformation, carmakers must take ambitious action at all levels of their organizations to future-proof themselves, including making strategic decisions about how they manufacture in the future. That’s why automotive companies are increasingly looking at ways to integrate Industry 4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the industrial internet of things (IIoT), robotics, and augmented reality into their operations.

Recently, Porsche launched a 5G research network at its Leipzig factory together with network supplier Ericsson, which enables real-time transmission of data between humans, machines, and vehicles. It allows us to test Industry 4.0 use cases in the production environment and represents another step toward the Smart Factory. Moreover, we strongly believe in collaborative intelligence: Human-machine collaboration is a crucial success factor for the next generation of factories. One technology that plays an outstanding role in this context is AI. In addition to automating process, it allows us to complement and enhance human capabilities.

Albrecht Reimold, Member of the Executive Board for Production and Logistics at Porsche AG in a Smart Factory room

The importance of re- and upskilling

Industry 4.0 is a gamechanger for manufacturing, with major implications for the automotive industry and the people who work in it. According to a McKinsey report, “the demand for technological skills (both coding and especially interacting with technology) is expected to rise by more than 50 percent, and the need for complex cognitive skills is set to increase by one-third.”

At Porsche, we are determined to face these challenges together as a team and believe in the ingenuity of our people to solve complex problems. In the Porsche Production 4.0 ecosystem, people will continue to play a leading role and be at the heart of the production process. Thus, building the right skills within our organization, preparing our factory workers for advanced manufacturing, and continually investing in the development of our employees are top priorities for us.

Putting people first

To take full advantage of Industry 4.0 technologies, our teams must understand how people and machines can work seamlessly together and how they can enhance each other. Thus, forward-looking training and qualification concepts play an important role for us.

We are now offering our colleagues from the production area a Smart Factory room: a kind of escape game room that interactively combines current topics from production with learning content on new technologies. The goal is to get our colleagues excited about the Smart Factory, reduce potential fears of contact, and promote problem-solving skills. In line with our sustainability philosophy, our Smart Factory room is located in two containers that have been refurbished after their primary use has ended and thus filled with new life.

A Smart Factory room that combines current topics with learning content

The future of production at porsche is #SmartLeanGreen

Core to Porsche’s DNA is its commitment to innovation and excellence. With our Smart Factory and our guiding principle “Smart, Lean and Green,” we want to tackle the increasing speed and complexity of the automotive industry and equip ourselves for the sustainable mobility of tomorrow. The benefits are wide-ranging. Our Production 4.0 is CO₂-neutral on the balance sheet, intelligently networked, efficient and resource-saving. Thanks to the Smart Factory, we will have real-time control of the manufacturing process.

The Smart Factory was redesigned from end to end, providing an Industry 4.0. production environment in which machines and systems will communicate in real-time with each other and in which new digital tools and new production technologies empower our teams.

Investing in the future, investing in human and artificial intelligence

In addition to harnessing a variety of advanced technologies such as AI and IIoT, we have configured our production areas around the logic of the production process. For example, in our Taycan factory in Zuffenhausen, we deploy automated guided vehicles, so-called AGVs (Porsche was the first OEM to use AGVs in continuous flow). Porsche has also invested more than 600 million euro at its Leipzig site to make the plant fit for the future, three different drive types can be produced on a single line: petrol, hybrid and electric vehicles.

In conclusion, our Smart Factory is built on the premise that we put people first. It is all about supporting our teams in their day-to-day work and improving human-machine cooperation, which in turn helps us to make production processes more efficient and enhance the overall quality of our work and our products.

About this publication: Where innovation meets tradition. There’s more to Porsche than sports cars — we are developing new digital products and services — always with our customers in focus. On our Medium blog, we tell these stories. It’s about our #nextvisions, emerging technologies, and the people that drive our digital journey. If you want to know more, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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Next Level German Engineering: Where innovation meets tradition. The Porsche technology hub to create tomorrow.

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