1 Feb 2018
The Impact of Digitization in Automotive Manufacturing
Harish Thyagarajan
#Digital Transformation | 5 min read
The Impact of Digitization in Automotive Manufacturing
#Digital Transformation
Harish Thyagarajan

Digitization plays a crucial role in automotive manufacturing. It equips the interior suppliers with necessary tools and helps them remain flexible and relevant in this modern era. With an increase in customer demand for value-added vehicles, the automotive suppliers are facing an immense pressure in coping up with the changing preferences and requirements, while remaining operational and profitable. Digitization in automotive manufacturing has made companies improve their competitiveness while setting a strong foundation for the future growth in a steadily evolving manufacturing landscape.


Digitized technologies in the manufacturing sector are transforming every department in the automotive manufacturing value chain, from product innovation to sales and services. The quick growth of data analytics and an increase in the use of the IoT enabled digital connectivity is bridging a connection between a company’s management and operations with consumers.


With the emergence of predictive analytics and cloud computing, the industrial manufacturing is moving towards a world of smart connectivity supported by highly disruptive technologies. On the IoT, the cyber-systems communicate with the connected production solutions in real-time. However, for businesses to stay ahead of its competitors, they will have to look beyond owning technologies and gear up for transformational changes.


The Importance of having a Digital Mindset

To attain operational excellence and strategic transformations, many industry leaders are transforming their business operations by looking beyond new technologies. This involves a change of mindset, a restructured business model, and a revamped ecosystem strategy. It is always good to start off with the customer, by offering them new services. Developing a relationship with customers is really the first building block. Then, there is a need for a genuine leadership team.


The awareness of management regarding new technology and its impact to the business model has to be high, therefore a lot of time and effort has to be invested in bringing this out to the new environment, not just from a technological point of view, but also with the collateral impacts of these technologies.


Even though these prerequisites require careful planning, all the companies that are aspiring to grow rapidly must act now. Technological transformations will continue to happen, however, one will have to prepare for them right away.


Opportunities in Vehicle Interiors

At present, the manufacturers of vehicle interiors are aiming to bring down their production costs and maintain the operational performance. Vehicle interior manufacturers are also striving to improve their processes. Digital manufacturing meets a lot of these challenges. By efficiently capitalizing on the power of digital technologies, the interior manufacturers can increase their productivity, bring down machine downtime and shorten the time to market. In the long run, the adoption of digitized manufacturing can also mean helping suppliers compete on a completely different level.


Analytics and apps will also play an important role in the development of services. Typically the OEM vehicle R&D programme is generally a 7-year programme. With the emergence of software, programmes now take less than 3 years.


Technologies for Industry 4.0

Today’s industrial manufacturing for most of the part remains unchanged. It aims to bring economies of scale linked to product manufacturing by increasing the volume of products that are manufactured, thereby bringing down the unit costs. The automotive industry works in a similar manner, with suppliers highly focused on optimizing the costs of products, rather than optimizing the capital that is essential to manufacture them.


In the present era, the automated and standardized digital processes can effectively absorb the cost of complexities involved in supply chain and procurement of raw materials. Leaders in the automotive industry are now deploying digital technologies to drive value. A good number of Tier 1 suppliers are relying on data analytics to optimize plant operations and enhance product quality.


Smart, digitized production solutions are effectively processing data to manage the inventory, while the premium management tools for supply-network are now enabling a clear view of the flow of raw materials and manufactured parts, standardizing the plant operations and reducing costs.


IoT in the Vehicle Interior Segment

The popular technology solutions manufacturer Lectra has set a benchmark in smart, connected cutting room equipment. Lectra’s VectorAuto fabric cutting solution has completely redefined the boundaries for speed and quality. At present, Vector has more than 175 embedded sensors for implementing preventive maintenance. Vectors that are set up worldwide, communicate in real time with Lectra’s call centers, where experts can intervene remotely.
Some years ago, Lectra introduced the leather cutting technology for the auto industry with VersalisAuto. With this incredible solution, the company launched one of the finest digital leather-cutting solutions on the market, by delivering the best-in-class quality. It was specially designed to cut leather without compromising on the productivity, VersalisAuto has one of the finest automated nesting systems for overall improvements in efficiency.
Technology has been constantly evolving. Automotive firms that embrace the digital technology head-on to deliver solutions for its customers stand to reap dividends. Organizations who are reluctant will surely become irrelevant.


HashedIn has helped many automotive firms by building applications to give the users a completely hassle-free experience. Kindly let us know if you have any specific problem/use case, where we can provide more information or consult you.

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