Formel D: Assuring Quality in the Automotive Industry

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Matthias Grossmann, Vice President of Strategy and Digitization
The global automotive industry has ballooned into this massive entity today, and its success stems from the assurance of the quality of products and processes for the international customer base. Some companies are solely tasked with vetting parts and vehicles that flow from manufacturers and suppliers, and it is anything but an easy job. However, Formel D has emerged as a global service provider with leading concepts and scalable solutions promising quality assurance and process optimization throughout the value chain.

The company is a known service provider to the global automotive and component supply industry, with services spanning for quality optimization and assurance along the entire supply chain. Formel D is responsible for ensuring that only tried, tested and flawless products make it to the production facilities for commercial sales. The company has laid a foundation for ensuring testing and country-specific certifications for new vehicles. Their customer-oriented and cost-effective approach have carved out a niche and loyal clientele in the market.

The more than 25-year-old quality service provider has focused on the automotive and the mobility industry and has supported all participants spanning from ride-hailing companies to carmakers. “Our services help these industry participants not only better their quality, but also test products and validate software systems that will be embedded into vehicles,” says Matthias Grossmann, Vice President of Strategy and Digitization, Formel D. In addition to this, they also have a mechanism in place that verify the parts that come through the supply chain to the Original Equipment Manufacturer.

In the case of a detection of NOK-parts, the company is qualified to manage the process to get the supplier back to the prescribed level of quality. Formel D extend their support to the after sales process through not only good documentation for the vehicle owners and workshops but also assisting OEM to gather and analyse the feedback out of the after-sales market & processes with the goal to both support the OEM processes in quickly addressing product issues but also incorporating the findings into learning for future developments. The company is now focused on creating or devising digital solutions on top of the services that are swift and efficient with the goal in helping their clients optimize their product quality and / or process stability. The COVID-19 situation disrupted global supply chains by shutting down markets, however Formel D is not deterred.

Several trends are shaping the automobile market. On the long-term front, Grossmann says that every player in the industry is grappling with the fast shift from combustion engines to electric; and Formel D has established many new capabilities to support that shift and is chalking up the direction of the offerings they are intending to take. The second trend that the industry is faced with is the shift to incorporating more autonomous functions into the vehicles. Formel D has quickly enhanced it capabilities to test these mostly embedded systems for autonomous driving. This further expands its quality services as with new products with their parameters need to be tested. These include e.g. drive batteries, high voltage systems, etc. The company sees a lot of opportunity and need, as these systems require more testing and validation.

“In terms of product development, we have a full portfolio of services that revolve around vehicle testing,” says Grossmann, elaborating on the services offered by Formel D. The company operates vehicle test centers where multiple test drives are conducted, and any discrepancies flagged amid the endurance tests are tackled. Additionally, they carry out software tests in labs as well as on cars that ply the roads. The company has a resident engineering-service and quality warehousing, where quality engineers look at products incl. subassemblies from the requirements perspective. Formel D is also known for fleet management of vehicles, where cars that need maintenance are monitored. Grossmann revealed that they are working towards making their quality assessment perspective ever more transparent: “We are the digital leader among our competitors, as we are driven to investing in digitizing our workflow, enhance optimization to drive better reports, and streamline processes,” says Grossmann. Examples of digital solutions that Formel D uses are systems that guarantee full visibility to the status of vehicle test drives no matter how they plan shift modules and maintenance of test cars. This open communication enables engineers and the Quality Management to accurately and timely work on pain points. In the production process, Grossmann says that they have used a holistic heat map of the plant, which enables the quality manager of the plant to focus in areas where multiple projects are in full swing, and reduce errors.

Envisioning the future for Formel D, Grossmann says they want continue to push a further increase of the level of digitization, to integrate big data and Artificial Intelligence to understand quality issues better and make this knowledge available for clients. As the company is involved in using the emerging technologies to their full potential, they are constantly scouting for new approaches to integrate into their processes.

Company
Formel D

Headquarters
Cologne, Germany

Management
Matthias Grossmann, Vice President of Strategy and Digitization and Dr. Juergen Laakmann (CEO) & Gian Mario Deligios (CFO) & Dr. Thomas Klukas (COO)

Description
The company is a known service provider to the global automotive and component supply industry, with services spanning for quality optimization and assurance along the entire supply chain. Formel D is responsible for ensuring that only tried, tested and flawless products make it to the production facilities for commercial sales. The company has laid a foundation for ensuring testing and country-specific certifications for new vehicles. Their customer-oriented and cost-effective approach have carved out a niche and loyal clientele in the market

Formel D