Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Nissan Optimistic About Increased Volumes
Nissan South Africa (Nissan SA) is looking to ramp up vehicle production at its Rosslyn manufacturing plant to 45, 000 units this financial year, after falling short of meeting this target in 2008 because of the global economic crisis which had a serious impact on total industry volume (TIV). This optimistic outlook is on the strength of new opportunities that have opened up in the export market and demand for the NP200 as well as demand for the Renault Sandero which is built at the Nissan factory under the Renault Nissan Alliance.
“If you look at this financial year, I think we are one of the few manufacturers in the South African market that is actually forecasting a higher volume than we did last year because of these opportunities,” says Neil Craddock, Nissan SA’s manufacturing plant general manager, who points out that even with lower volumes of around 33, 000 last year, the company still maintained its 8% market share.
A key challenge is materials management both of overseas and local suppliers. Now that the company is sourcing from a variety of countries, and not just Japan as previously, production is often hampered by long lead times and packing configurations which are at odds with the production line’s requirements. Operational challenges closer to home also spill over into the manufacturing arena. “When it comes to local suppliers, one of the things we are really battling with is some of the suppliers’ inability to meet the delivery expectations,” explains Craddock. Ensuring the optimum ‘cost per unit’ is an ever-present challenge. NSA is, therefore, always mindful of these cost elements and continues to strive to contain cost through cross functional activity and ongoing benchmarking.
Challenges aside, Craddock is confident that Nissan is on track to maintaining, if not exceeding, the company’s forecasted volumes for 2009 and beyond