The training can now be accomplished anywhere, and saves valuable space, time and money
Audi has just innovated training for its logistics employees, fitting the futuristic training centre in a suitcase. Instead of bulky containers and packaging material, which take up space, a computer, a pair of virtual reality glasses, and two controllers are all that is required for the new interactive learning programme for Audi packing logistics.
The programme makes it fun for employees to learn the packing process for completely knocked down or CKD logistics. The exercises are designed like a video game and the equipment is quick and easy to set up anywhere.
When employees put on the VR glasses, they see a realistic and true-to-life simulation of their work station in Hall L of the Ingolstadt Logistics Centre. With that, they hold a controller in each hand that is also used for video games. They use it to grasp and move the virtual images of their work equipment, such as containers or components.
Employees go through the various packing processes, step-by-step, just as in the real world—preparing cardboard boxes, placing sun visors in the ideal position, applying labels correctly to the containers, and so on. They learn the required hand movements while also getting familiar with the corresponding IT programmes. As this no longer requires actual components and containers, the training can be accomplished flexibly at any location, and the company saves valuable space as well as time and money.
The VR training has various levels of difficulty. This way, the employee can advance steadily and is motivated to immediately put the learning to use. Whereas learners receive detailed instructions in the first level, in the second round they must memorise all the steps and ‘pack’ more independently.
Not only does the training programme give employees immediate feedback, but also allows them to repeat each exercise as often as they wish. Trainers are available to support employees at all times. These trainers can follow the training progress and offer help where needed, using an associated app on their tablet.
The new training programme also overcomes language and distance barriers. Various language versions can be run with little effort, so that Audi employees can now also train with Spanish or English instructions. This also functions across locations—an employee in Ingolstadt Logistics can work virtually in the Audi plant in San José Chiapa, Mexico, and vice versa. Programmers have used existing 3D data from the plans of Audi plants for the realistic depiction of the various locations.
“The response of the employees to the virtual training is extremely positive,” says project head, Mirko Göres from Brand Logistics Information Process Planning. “After a six-month pilot phase, two process training programmes are now in permanent use in CKD logistics. We are now working with the training centre in Ingolstadt and the Neckarsulm and Ingolstadt Plant Logistics to develop three additional VR training programmes on the topics of pick-by-light, pick-by-tablet and pick-by-voice,” he adds. The Audi locations of San José Chiapa and Brussels will be more involved in the project in the future.
Audi also uses virtual reality in numerous other areas of the company, including sales, technical development and production.