Automotive in Motion
The automotive industry is facing a new wave of automation in production, administration and development, says Fabian Wanke.
Things are happening in the automotive industry. To stay competitive in the future, carmakers have to deal with the concept of Industrie 4.0. While manufacturers like Mercedes, General Motors, Toyota, BMW and VW and their suppliers have Industrie 4.0 on their radar, they are for the most part keeping their strategies to themselves. But pressure is growing from new competitors like Google or Tesla that are already well versed in the art of digitalisation.
Small and medium-sized automotive suppliers are also being forced to take a close look at Industrie 4.0 because of their close link with the automotive value chain. Warehousing and logistics are already digitised in the automotive industry, but what about the rest?
The automotive industry is facing a new wave of automation in production, administration and development. While the opportunities and risks of digitalisation in the individual sectors can't be assessed yet, it is clear that internal processes will change dramatically. Nevertheless, there is still much work to be done, especially in the area of standardisation.
The automation industry has recognised this, so it is hardly surprising that the Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser spoke about this issue in a recent interview. According to Kaeser, digitalisation and the internet are changing the value chain. The weakest links will be removed and replaced and the value chain will be shorter and faster. The areas currently experiencing the greatest amount of change are manufacturing, digital production and the merging of R&D and production. Kaeser feels that the German automotive industry is not poorly prepared for these changes, as some claim. "There is no industry in the world that has so strongly invested in innovation as the German automotive industry," the Siemens boss observed.
It will be exciting to see how things develop in the coming years!
Fabian Wanke is part of the automation team at ARC covering manufacturing topics in Europe and is located in ARC's offices in Dresden, Germany.