FUTURE OF PRODUCTION: Where Industry 4.0 and Electric Vehicles come together

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By Magdalena Riley- April 1, 2021

Building capabilities beyond automation & optimisation- Electric Vehicles

With the need arising for more environmentally friendly transport methods, the production of electric vehicles has taken centre stage as a cleaner alternative. Global sales of electric cars accelerated fast in 2020, rising by 43% to more than 3m, despite overall car sales slumping by a fifth during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sales of electric cars more than doubled in Europe, pushing the region past China as the world’s biggest market for them, according to data published by EV-volumes.com. Sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) made up 4.2% of the global car market, up from 2.5% in 2019.

“The rising sales are being driven by government policies to reduce carbon emissions, but a key factor is that electric cars are simply a better technology” said Viktor Irle, sales and marketing analyst at EV-volumes.com. Apart from these impressive statistics it is still a relatively young market where everything is still up for grabs and where the newcomers still stand equal chances with established car manufacturers.

For fast growing economies like India there is a real chance to look at this new opportunity with a clean slate instead of recreating operational approaches and business models of traditional car manufacturers. This proved to be too slow in innovating and adopting latest technologies and therefore car manufacturers have fallen out of touch with the fast-changing consumers expectations. If developed with an entrepreneurial mindset and with courage this clean slate can be become a fresh, agile and future-proofed industry which promises high growth and prosperity for businesses, employees and entire regions. The onset of Industry 4.0 and its technologies has got all the ingredients to create such an industry.

To not repeat the mistakes of the established manufacturers one should first understand their operating model. With most vehicle manufacturers, the development of new vehicles is very much based on the product (vehicle) itself. The processes include extensive product development and engineering ingenuity, and extensive sales and marketing efforts are needed to overtake the competition.

In contrast to this, Tesla has developed what is called a ‘Software car’. They use big data and AI (Artificial Intelligence) extensively not only to improve the functioning of the actual vehicle as a product, but also on how the customer interacts with the car. A multitude of sensors stream real-time data to the Cloud and AI evaluates this data and evaluates it in real time. Tesla product improvements happen with regular software updates. Big data is at the core of its business model and improving the customer experience.

Indeed, one should not only look at the product itself, but also at creating the best customer experience. It is about the whole product lifecycle and customer journey.

The example of Tesla clearly shows the use of Industry 4.0 technologies but what is the objective of Industry 4.0? The key objective of Industry 4.0 is to drive manufacturing forward: to be faster, more efficient, and customer-eccentric, while pushing beyond automation and optimization to discover new business opportunities and models. The Industry 4.0 model of operations can improve business operations and revenue growth, transforming products, the supply chain, and the customer experience.

Industry 4.0 does not start and end with supply chain or production, its reach could be much broader.

There are 9 Enabling technologies driving Industry 4.0, namely Simulation, Additive Manufacturing, Cybersecurity, Augmented Reality, Autonomous Robots, The Cloud, The Industrial Internet of Things, Horizontal and Vertical Integration and finally Big Data and Analytics.

These technologies within Industry 4.0 will lead to new business models. The Industry 4.0 model of operations can transform manufacturing from ‘product-driven’ to ‘outcome-driven’ through the provision of customer-eccentric, on-demand services, covering the entire product life cycle. This will lead to new value and revenue streams.

To future proof one’s business, certain essential capabilities will be needed: some of these, include systems integration, software development, data analytics and adoption of AI, remote service support, connectivity, communication ,and finally and most importantly, customer care. To have these capabilities you will need a highly skilled workforce. People will again be necessary to implement these capabilities as well as provide the right customer care. Operational capabilities and people go hand in hand.

The future production of electric vehicles will therefore not only rely on latest technologies but will be determined by the customer needs and feedback. This is a completely new business model and will include the customers experience throughout the whole manufacturing process.

Under the aegis of the “Skills For Jobs” program that promotes joint UK/India prosperity resulting from improved skills levels through enhanced training in a range of identified priority sectors, notably Electric Vehicles, Practeria participated in this EVSE one-day event, held on the 25th of March 2021.

The Electric Vehicles virtual skills exhibition would allow the showcasing of international best practice and provide a forum to establish partnerships between the 60 + attending Indian skills sector stakeholders and the British exhibiting companies.

Why Electric Vehicles, and Why Practeria?

At Practeria, we design and deliver competency-based technical training aiming at the development of future-proof technical capabilities leading to new job roles in Industry 4.0. Our job-specific training addresses current and future skills needs accelerated by the demands of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Our mission is to boost productivity of global manufacturing thought skills and technology.

Please follow the link to watch Practeria,s presentation Future of Production for Electric Vehicles using Industry 4.0 Technologies: https://youtu.be/JD1WbOZHzeM

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