The global automotive industry’s revenues exceed US$4 trillion, with 600,000 individual businesses directly employing nearly 5.7 million people. Its condition affects the wealth of nations. The industry is facing unprecedented challenges. The move to electric and other power sources requires different powertrains, new materials and novel processes, while bearing down on costs. Agility, adaptability and the ability to monitor material usage, processes and employee activity, in the finest detail, are essential.
Fluctuations driven by fashion and economic influences have been joined by the trend towards ‘mass customisation’. Stock levels have to be balanced against the need to avoid excessive inventory. Inadequate resource and production planning incur high operating costs, poor inventory and finished goods control, and customer delivery problems.
Manufacturers have to be able to effectively schedule materials and resources, including machine availability, skills and personnel.
Quality, safety, sustainability
Quality and safety are not optional. Governments, lobbyists and consumers are as one when it comes to sustainability. “Circular manufacturing” requires that materials are recoverable, reusable and recyclable. Production processes must be sustainable. Compliance failure can lead to reputational damage and substantial legal costs.
Producers have to be able to track and account for equipment and material supplies and to monitor that they conform to customer and legal standards, throughout the manufacturing process.
The technology within cars is evolving rapidly. In-car experiences are changing to keep pace with consumer demand. The forecast rise of shared ownership will require usage monitoring and financial charging infrastructure. Communication technologies such as 5G will make driverless vehicles commonplace.
Manufacturers will constantly have to monitor their systems to ensure their suitability for new demands and be prepared to change and adapt, rapidly.
Maintaining profitability and competitiveness
The auto industry is oversupplied and has excess capacity; global competition for a changing consumer base will continue to intensify. Supplier margins will be under scrutiny from OEMs seeking to optimise their own profitability. Production efficiency is paramount; waste is unacceptable. Intelligent insight, total transparency and complete visibility of resource utilisation are vital to see where time is lost, waste is occurring and efficiencies can be implemented.
Maximising profitability, maintaining competitiveness and optimising market share relies on effective management of all resources, using technology that can automate data collection, optimise workflow and seamlessly connect planning and production activities.
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