Tatra Trucks invests CZK 700 million in production technologies to achieve production volumes of up to 2,500 vehicles per year

 26. 03. 2024      Category: Defense & Security

The Czech carmaker has started investing in high-tech machinery to streamline production processes and increase production volume to 2,500 vehicles per year. Tatra has also launched an extensive process of digitalization of production using modern business management systems and is planning to modernize and modify the factory's interior spaces, both in the production halls and in the administrative area. Thanks to these processes, the carmaker will not only significantly increase its production capacity and efficiency, but will also provide its employees with a new and more attractive working environment in line with today's standards.

Picture: Tatra Force 8x8 | Tatra Trucks
Picture: Tatra Force 8x8 | Tatra Trucks

The increasing demand for Tatra vehicles has now pushed the company to the limit of its production capacity. In order to meet customer demand over the next few years, it must dramatically increase production volumes. It has therefore started a process of restructuring and is investing in production capacity and technology. "For 2024, we plan to increase the number of cars produced and sold by hundreds of units, so the increase should be much more significant than in previous years. The restructuring steps that we have been taking since the middle of last year and the monitored production and order parameters are very good preconditions for us to be able to fulfil our plans. We are at the beginning of a process that should help us to achieve production and sales volumes of 2,500 vehicles per year in about 2 to 3 years," explained Lukáš Andrýsek, CEO of Tatra Trucks.

Changes to the organisation at Tatra

The main part of the changes at Tatra Trucks are new organisational principles, investments in production capacities and new machine technologies. Major changes will also take place in the infrastructure of the company's premises. "Tatra Trucks is now undergoing a major transformation. We have developed and implemented a new Target Operating Model for the organisation. The newly created areas of project management, purchasing, technical department, logistics and quality lead to efficient management of our company," said Petr Buršík, CEO of Tatra Trucks. The automaker is moving to a model in which a project team is responsible for the execution of orders, in which the departments communicate with each other. "This management model is much more efficient for Tatra, which produces specific vehicles for each order according to customer requirements," said Pavel Biskup, the automaker's director of project management.

The newly formed process engineering of the technical department, based on the principles of VSM (Value Stream Mapping), creates room to increase production efficiency. And together with the investment plans in production capacities, it will ultimately lead to an increase in Tatra's production capacity. "Another important area is the introduction of the new ERP system S4 HANA and the integration of the existing Team Center system. Both systems will enable efficient and transparent management of the company and will help increase the efficiency and flexibility of the production organisation," explained Petr Buršík.

In addition, Tatra Trucks is also building a strong supplier base, as explained by Purchasing Director Zuzana Švidrnochová: "We are establishing strategic partnerships and successfully strengthening the stability of the supply of parts that we need for the smooth running of production processes. In all this, we are also taking into account new regions where we did not have partners before. This is how we maintain our competitiveness in the market."

New machine tools

"The increase in production volume to the announced 2,500 cars per year is conditional on modernisation and automation of production. We intend to achieve this by investing a total of CZK 700 million in high-end machinery. We have already installed part of the machinery last year and another part will be installed this year," said Tomas Prášil, Technical Director of Tatra Trucks, giving examples of investments. The machining of carrier tubes will be supported by a new Fénix 2 machining centre including a robotic welding unit at a cost of CZK 41 million, and we plan to automate and streamline gear machining with new Gleason machine tools at a cost of almost CZK 90 million. We are also preparing the automation of engine machining with a new automated CNC machine for CZK 73 million, which will replace a line from the 1960s."

Modern facilities for employees

The changes will also affect the facilities for employees in production and office space, for which an investment of tens of millions of crowns has been earmarked for this year. "This year, we plan to start a gradual reconstruction of common areas and sanitary facilities in production. In particular, the so-called snack rooms will undergo a complete transformation so that employees have modern and adequate facilities for rest and refreshment," said investment and facilities manager Tomáš Lazař, adding: "This will be followed by the renovation of the sanitary facilities, including the changing rooms. The office space will also be reconstructed and rebuilt, including the setting of a uniform design in Tatra colours." The headquarters of the automotive company will also get a new façade, and the surrounding area will also be renovated, which will, for example, increase the capacity of parking spaces.

Tatra Trucks, a joint stock company, took over the world-famous brand and the Kopřivnice-based automotive company in 2013, which underwent a successful restructuring following a change in ownership structure. In addition to standardized model lines, the company also produces special trucks tailored to customer requirements. Domestic markets in the Czech Republic and Slovakia are very important, and a large part of the carmaker's production is intended for export to dozens of countries around the world. Tatra Trucks a.s. employs more than 1,400 people, and more than 700 more work in its subsidiary Tatra Metalurgie a.s., which focuses mainly on foundry and forging. The shareholders of Tatra Trucks are the industrial-technological holding Czechoslovak Group and the engineering group Promet Group.

 Author: Michal Pivoňka