A Lexicon of Orientation: Automotive and Related Industries


Data visualisation

Subject: Automotive and Related Industries
Location: Timișoara and Timiș County, Romania

An analysis of the automotive sector in Timișoara and Timiș County, highlighting the growth in employee numbers in the industry. The visualisation explores the industries in Timișoara that are integral to the automotive supply chain and presents an overview of the network of industries associated with car production.

Insights by sociologist Norbert Petrovici

Timișoara Automotive Industry: A Global Driver
In Timișoara, the automotive industry stands as the main economic driver, with sectors such as chemical and electronics serving as integral components, either as direct suppliers or indirectly associated entities in the global market. This interconnection has positioned Timișoara as an important node in both the national and global automotive supply chains.

Privatisation Transformations and Strategic Benefits
The economic landscape of the region experienced considerable transformations through various privatisation initiatives. Among these, the successful privatisation of Dacia/Renault during Romania’s EU pre-accession negotiations is of particular importance. This privatisation had a particularly positive impact on Timișoara as it maintained the national supply chain, including the chemical, electrical, and electronics sectors. This strategic move enabled companies based in Timișoara, including Elba, a key player in the lighting industry, to expand internationally while continuing their service to Dacia. Additionally, engineering service providers like Continental and Bosch relocated to Timișoara, offering their expertise and contributing to the growing complexity of the supply chain within the national economy.

Timisoara’s Skilled Workforce in the Automotive Sector
These progressions have resulted in a significant portion of Timișoara’s workforce, including over 25 000 engineers, either directly or indirectly involved in the dominant industrial sector. This achievement was made possible through the employment of available human resources and efficient infrastructure developed during the 1970s and 1980s.

AI generated visuals

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A visual management tool that signals production issues to operators.

Assembly Line
A sequential production process in which parts are added to a product in a sequential manner.

The use of machinery, robotics, and computerised systems to perform manufacturing tasks with minimal human intervention.

Automotive Cluster
A group of interconnected companies and institutions from the automotive sector, located near each other.


Batch Production
Production method where products are produced in groups or batches and not in a continuous stream.

The volume of goods or services that must be sold for the business to make neither a loss nor a profit.

A point of congestion or blockage in a production process.


A standardised good, often raw material, that can be bought and sold interchangeably with goods of the same type.

Continuous Improvement
The ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes.

Continuous Manufacturing
A method used to produce products continuously rather than in batches.

Cycle Time
The time taken to complete one cycle of an operation.


Demand-Driven Production
Production based on actual demand rather than forecasts.

The time during which a machine or factory is not operational.

Driverless Car
A vehicle that uses a combination of sensors, cameras, radar, and artificial intelligence to travel between destinations without a human operator.


Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
A step-by-step approach for identifying all possible failures in a design, manufacturing process, or product.

A system of industrial production designed for mass production and influenced by the methods pioneered by Henry Ford.


GDP (Gross Domestic Product)
The total value of goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time frame.

Global Value Chain
Activities conducted to bring a product from conception to end-use.


Industrial Internet Of Things (IIoT)
The application of IoT in industrial settings, emphasising machine-to-machine communication, big data, and machine learning.

Internet of Things (IoT)
The network of interconnected physical devices that communicate and exchange data with each other through the internet.

Inventory Management
Supervising non-capitalised assets or stock items.

ISO 9001
An international standard for a quality management system.


Automation with a human touch, allowing machines to work autonomously with human supervision.

Just-In-Time (JIT)
A management strategy to decrease waste by receiving goods only when needed in the production process.


A Japanese term meaning ‘change for better’, referring to continuous improvement.

KPI (Key Performance Indicator)
A measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key objectives.


Lead Time
The time between the initiation and completion of a production process.

Lean Manufacturing
A systematic method for waste minimisation without sacrificing productivity.

In American slang, a lemon is a car that is found to be defective after it has been bought.


A process in which a piece of raw material is cut into a desired final shape and size by a controlled material-removal process.

Mass Customisation
Mass customisation refers to a business process of providing customised goods and services that best meet individual customer’s needs.

Mass Production
Large-scale manufacturing of standardised products.

Material Science
The study of materials used in automotive manufacturing, focusing on their properties, behaviour, and application to improve performance and safety.

Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF)
The predicted elapsed time between inherent failures of a mechanical or electronic system during normal system operation. 

Mobility as a Service (MaaS)
A shift away from personally-owned modes of transportation and towards mobility solutions consumed as a service.

Multi-Process Operation System
An advanced manufacturing system that handles multiple processes.


Overshoot Exceeding a target in production or other processes.


A mechanism to prevent mistakes in the manufacturing process.

Creating a preliminary model from which other forms are developed or copied.


Quality Assurance
A system of activities, including quality control, that ensures products or services meet customer requirements.

Quality Control
The process of ensuring products or services meet specific quality standards, with focus on defect prevention.

Quality Management System (QMS)
A formal system detailing the tasks and responsibilities for achieving quality policies and objectives.


Raw Material Sourcing
The process of procuring the fundamental components needed for manufacturing or production.

Real-Time Systems
Systems that must provide an output or response within a specified time period, often in the order of milliseconds or even microseconds.


Single-Minute Exchange of Die (SMED)
A system for dramatically reducing the time it takes to complete equipment changeovers.

Six Sigma
A set of techniques and tools for process improvement.

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
An established procedure to be followed in carrying out a given operation or in a given situation.

Supplier Development
The process of working with certain suppliers on a one-to-one basis to improve their performance for the benefit of the buying organisation. 

Supply Chain Management
Managing the flow of goods and services, including all processes that transform raw materials into final products.


The science of dividing specific tasks to allow employees to complete assignments as efficiently as possible, first developed by Frederick Taylor.

The rate at which a system produces products.

The permissible limit or limits of variation in a physical dimension.

The process of equipping a factory with machinery and tools for a particular manufacturing process.

Traffic Signal Optimisation
Methods to implement the best possible timing settings that govern the operation of a traffic signal. 

Turn Signals
Direction indicator lights mounted near the left and right front and rear corners of a vehicle, and sometimes on the sides of a vehicle.

The total revenue generated by a business over a specified period.


Urban Infrastructure Components like roads, parking facilities, and intelligent transportation systems essential for the functioning of automotive ecosystems in urban settings.


Value-Stream Mapping
A visual tool that employs a flowchart documenting every step in the process to reduce waste.


Zero Inventory System
A system aiming to reduce held stock to an absolute minimum.

Data visualisations
Federico Santarini
AI generated visuals
Bianca Schink, Alex Foradori
Data sources

Petrovici, Alexe, Bejinariu, 2023. ‘Economy in Timișoara: Territorial Distribution of the Economy in the Timișoara Metropolitan Area’

The Growth Lab at Harvard University. The Atlas of Economic Complexity: Romania’s Product Space, 2020