The automotive industry needs to change and collaborate more to keep up with rapid speed of change

Blog_Carindustry

Key points:

  • The automotive industry faces challenges from car complexity, faster time to market, and stricter regulations.
  • Collaboration and innovation around engineering data are essential, including platform sharing, offloading development, and redesigning distribution.
  • ShareAspace, the PLM collaboration software can help with the secure and flexible sharing of engineering data.
  • Successful examples of platform sharing exist, and companies must adapt quickly to remain competitive.

Meeting the challenges of the automotive industry with collaborative engineering data software

Recent studies published by PwC and McKinsey put focus on the new challenges in the automotive industry. Over the last couple of years, we have seen big changes in how automotive companies collaborate and seek new ways to make business more profitable.

The technical content in cars has increased dramatically over the last 5 to 10 years. Today’s automotive OEMs must master not only safety, fuel economy, attractive vehicle design and speed to market but also the explosion of new software, sensors and systems. A car today is not only a means of transportation; it is also a communication and entertainment platform. Time to market and volume are of the essence. Not to mention quality, safety and environmental regulations.

All of the above calls for new ways to innovate and collaborate around engineering data.
So, what are the key trends, and how can automotive companies prepare to meet these challenges?

According to the report from PwC – 2017 Automotive Trends * three crucial actions to take are:

1. Share platforms and Manufacturing
2. Offload more development work to technology suppliers
3. Redesign distribution models

The first two actions pose new challenges in the form of sharing engineering information across company borders. Should the exact same IT systems be used in the whole network? Is that even possible and does it make sense from a cost viewpoint?

Can the OEM have suppliers inside their internal systems and what are the security issues? Who owns the intellectual property? What about training in SW tools and processes?

McKinsey points out similar trends in their report ** The road to 2020 and beyond – What’s driving the global automotive industry? They have also identified sharing and cooperation as important trends in the coming years.

  • Complexity and cost pressure. There will be more platform sharing and more modular systems. At the same time, regulatory pressures will tighten, and prices in established markets are likely to be flat.
  • Suppliers will add more value to alternative powertrain technologies and in innovative solutions for active safety and infotainment.
  • How can we expand by cooperating with other OEMs or local players?

We see these driving forces for cooperation and collaboration throughout the automotive industry. Platform sharing is growing and we can see successful examples with companies like Geely and their platform development company CEVT. CEVT’s recent development of the CMA and SPA platforms is now delivering the first derivatives for both Volvo Cars and Lynk & Co.

In the Groupe Renault Alliance, Nissan, Daimler and Mitsubishi have agreed to share vehicle design platforms and manufacturing sites. This will call for strong collaboration tools and processes to keep up speed and security in a heterogeneous application environment.

All the above is great for us and we have all reasons to believe we can help out. At Eurostep, we have developed the standards-based software ShareAspace to meet and address the specific needs of collaboration for the automotive and other industries.

The key features to successfully address the challenges above are:

  • A collaboration software that acts like a Hub to make sure…

1. You only share the information needed for the collaboration
2. Projects can start and stop quickly – partners join and leave as needed
3. All partners continue to use their in-house software and processes
4. Security can be added to the project for trust and IP protection

  • A software based on an open and rich information model to…

1. Ensure that you are not locked into one of the formats of a software vendor
2. Make sure your collaboration information can be mapped to your needs
3. Allow sharing of any engineering data, not just CAD

  • A software that empowers collaboration and…

1. Is process and task-driven
2. Has effective messaging boards and reporting tools
3. Has strong notification capabilities
4. Scales with project needs
5. Easily connects to existing information sources like Systems Engineering, CAD, PLM, ERP, CM and Aftermarket systems

Sources:
* PwC – 2017 Automotive Trends
** McKinsey – The road to 2020 and beyond – What’s driving the global automotive industry?


Executive summary

The automotive industry is facing new challenges due to the increasing complexity of cars, the need for faster time to market, and stricter safety and environmental regulations. Collaboration and innovation around engineering data are essential to meeting these challenges, and key trends include platform sharing, offloading development work to technology suppliers, and redesigning distribution models. ShareAspace collaboration software can help automotive companies address these challenges by acting as a hub for secure and flexible sharing of the necessary information, using an open and rich information model, and empowering collaboration through effective messaging boards, reporting tools, and notification capabilities. Successful examples of platform sharing can be seen with companies like Geely and the Groupe Renault Alliance, and automotive companies must be prepared to adapt to the rapid speed of change in the industry to stay competitive.

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