Technology Management for the auto supplier industry – AutoLogue by VD Umashanker – ETAuto.com


There was a time when specifications of an automobile stated the fuel type, power output, type of gearbox, safety features, etc. Today it reads like that of an advanced computer packed with numerous programs, incompatibilities, connectivity and other features not even thought of, a few years ago.

ACES (Autonomous, Connected, Electrified, Shared mobility) is unfolding at an unprecedented pace. Transformation in the physics of producing and transferring power to the wheel is underway. There are engineers believing and working on the possibility of quantum jumps in the conventional powertrain efficiencies which could rock the boat.

Companies not connected to auto industries a few years ago are now servicing this segment in a major way. Business models are being redefined. Coupled with this, Industry 4.0 will change the entire landscape of manufacturing. In this scenario, the ancillary industry not only needs to know what to manufacture but also how to manufacture.

Product portfolio analyses hitherto an annual exercise, based on parameters of profitability, life cycle, customer demand, competitive position and such like, will give only a limited insight into the future, because of the pace of these technological developments.

Transformations in the auto industry nay in manufacturing as a whole have brought to the fore the need for developing new skills on the part of leaders of the businesses especially in the Tier 1 supplier industry. Identification of the most sustainable, or appropriate technology for that business, is becoming more and more complex and therefore the vision for the company for the next ten or even five years gets blurry.

Resource deployment decisions earlier could be made with a straight forward assessment because we were mostly analyzing the evolution of a product category. Almost the same functional requirements, but better efficiencies, lower weights, better value, costs, etc. were the focus. Rarely was it a question of dealing with innovations of a radically different product or a groundbreaking technology. This evolutionary process, therefore, can no longer deliver sustainable solutions.

Add to that the advances in connected machines, machine learning, robotics, new materials technology, and one can imagine the compounding of the skill levels needed for heading an auto component/systems business.

The supplier industry hence has to be necessarily capable of evaluating evolving technologies, which are still in infancy. The luxury of going by track record is just not there. What will be a technological/commercial success today depends on many new factors. An example is the consideration of the overall impact of new technology on the environment, in its entire life cycle. Leading companies are conscientious about it now, and so are the end customers.

To survive the onslaught of innovations and the swiftness with which a number of them are being implemented, enabled by simulations, analytics, machine learning, AI, 3D printing etc. leaders need the ability to think differently, adopt design thinking methodologies, and re-engineer the traditional R&D process/department, to make it more exploratory, enabling fundamental research, and teaming of innovators to form a technology perspective that would enable them envision a sustainable new product portfolio. Not to mention the breakneck delivery speed needed to keep pace with the market demand (the OEM sector).

Conglomerates with large resources can toy with multiple technologies, some of which are sure to be commercialized to provide the necessary ROI. One only needs to be cognizant of the many failed technologies in the consumer industry (TV, recording, photography etc.) to appreciate the impact of a wrong choice. Partnering, acquisition of technology, are other strategies. “Technology Management” therefore, as an attribute, is increasingly becoming vital for surmounting this phase.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETAuto.com does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETAuto.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.

“Disclaimer – This story is not been edited by ViralAssam Staff and is auto-generated from syndicated feed”


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