By now, Tesla’s manufacturing problems are completely predictable. See my explanation, after the break. At least Wall St. is starting to catch on.
Also in this article: Tesla’s gigafactory for batteries has very similar problems. That surprises me; I thought they had competent allies helping with batteries.
But one engineer who works there cautioned that the automated lines still can’t run at full capacity. “There’s no redundancy, so when one thing goes wrong, everything shuts down. And what’s really concerning are the quality issues.”
Source: Tesla employees say Gigafactory problems worse than known
My summary: Fundamentally, Tesla has a product design and production process that are “not manufacturable.” That is, the product tolerances are considerably tighter than the process variation. The result is that they produce lots of junk that must be scrapped or reworked. They can partially reduce process variation by stopping more often to adjust machines, but this causes downtime and creates “bottlenecks.”
This situation is common, even normal, EARLY in ramp-up of new production processes. The more novel the product or the process, the more common it is. However, the entire purpose of ramp-up period is to locate these issues and then do _root cause_ solutions. Meanwhile, gradually speed up the machines to expose more and more problems (AFTER the old ones are fully solved).
Tesla fundamentally does not understand this. They still “throw more people at problems,” which can never lead to root cause solutions. It also raises labor cost, obviously. More discussion along these lines at Naked Capitalism https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/04/tesla-encounters-material-world.html
Pingback: Tesla Encounters the Material World | Me Stock Broker
Follow up: What happens if/when Tesla goes bankrupt. I assume nobody will want to take over the Model 3 line, but it has other assets.
What is the residual value of Tesla’s technology? What would be the best way, in an ideal world, to take advantage of their technology. Example: Full takeover by another auto company; split up and sell pieces. How much of their technology walks out the door every evening, and therefore cannot be sold by Tesla’s hypothetical bankruptcy trustees?
I was skeptical about the battery gigafactory, but only for strategic reasons. I’m therefore surprised that it is apparently having similar manufacturing problems to the Model 3, because the technologies should be very different. Also, I thought there was more outside participation by other companies which are competent at high volume manufacturing.
Pingback: How Elon Musk Is Applying First Principles Thinking To All The Different Processes In His Company | Renaissance Man Journal