New institute to strengthen corporate quality processes
On December 1, 2015, the Automotive Quality Institute (AQI) was officially opened in Berlin. Its central objective is to implement innovative projects from research and development in order to improve and strengthen quality processes within companies in the automotive industry. The AQI will undertake customer-specific projects, linking current challenges facing the manufacturers and suppliers with the quality perspective and elaborating forward-looking concepts and methods for four areas of activity: connected and automated driving, new technological materials, Big Data and Industry 4.0.
The AQI a wholly owned subsidiary of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) and an Associated Institute of the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin). The AQI is directly connected to the most important network of experts in the automotive industry via the VDA and its Quality Management Center (QMC), and cooperating with the TU Berlin also links it to research scientists.
At the opening of the AQI, VDA Managing Director Dr. Ulrich Eichhorn spoke to a large number of quality managers from the automotive industry and other sectors, along with representatives from the TU Berlin, and stressed: “The VDA works for the highest quality standards in automobile production. The high quality in the German automotive industry is the result of systematic efforts to bring about continual improvement in the quality of its processes throughout the value chain. Our companies know top quality can be achieved only if it is created along the complete supply chain by all the companies involved. Appropriate quality management methods must be applied early on, when new technology is being developed – for instance the technology for connected and automated driving. In this field the AQI will raise awareness of quality along the entire supply chain.”
Arnd Schaarschmidt, AQI Managing Director, said, “Today the customer associates ‘quality’ directly with the German automotive industry. And the AQI stands for ensuring that this is also the case for future mobility in all its facets. The institute creates a bridge between applied research in the companies and university research – in the heart of Berlin. This international and creative city is the place where new types of jobs and competencies emerge, and that is precisely what counts when it comes to making the automotive industry fit for the coming technological and conceptual changes.”
“There are many topics related to quality, which affect all of us and which are not relevant to competition. Our joint AQI platform will enable us to implement overarching projects and benefit from the latest research,” explained Knudt Flor, Head of Corporate Quality at the BMW Group and chairman of the VDA Quality Management Committee (QMA), in his welcoming speech. He added that in the long term this would improve the quality of products and processes, and create added value for the customers.
Prof. Christian Thomsen, President of the TU Berlin, welcomed the cooperation with the AQI: “Many future-related topics can no longer be assigned to individual disciplines, but must be placed in a broader context involving international and transdisciplinary work. These interfaces are where we, the TU Berlin, see our innovative research topics and we are delighted that we have acquired the AQI as our partner.” Scientific cooperation will take place between the Associated Institute and the chair at the TU Berlin sponsored by the VDA QMC since 2014 in “Quality Strategy and Quality Competence,” and with other departments. “With strategic alliances like this one our students can apply their theoretical knowledge in projects directly related to industry, which are then actually realized in business. This transfer of knowledge and technology with practical application also makes our university more attractive,” Thomsen said.
About the TU Berlin
With almost 32,000 students, circa 100 course offerings and 40 Institutes, the historic Technische Universität Berlin is one of Germany’s largest and most internationally renowned technical universities. Located in Germany’s capital city – at the heart of Europe – outstanding achievements in research and teaching, imparting skills to excellent graduates, and a modern service-oriented administration characterize TU Berlin. Beyond its own borders, both domestically and abroad, our university is the motor, initiator and beneficiary of numerous academic and professional networks with partners in science and industry. Strategic alliances and numerous start-up activities serve to promote hands-on knowledge and technology transfer.
About the VDA QMC
The Quality Management Center (QMC) has existed for the benefit of German automotive OEMs and their suppliers since August 1, 1997. The roles and responsibilities undertaken by the QMC are varied and the questions surrounding quality management in the automotive industry occupy us on daily basis. The spectrum ranges from developing systems and methods to shaping the future of quality management systems in the automotive industry. These developments, as well as the direction of QMC, are steered by the top-level committee regarding quality matters in the German automotive industry: the Quality Management Committee. The Committee consists of the quality management directors of the VDA’s member companies, and one of its Managing Directors.