Why are automotive suppliers caught between a rock and a hard place, and what can they do?

Automotive suppliers find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Hard to believe, especially if you think the EV revolution will bring joy to these suppliers because of new revenue channels from the EV market. On the one hand, suppliers have to manage way more programs than they are used to (thanks to new EV and hybrid segments). Not good news if you consider that each of these programs have way fewer volumes than before. Low volumes with a higher cost associated with managing and executing each program mean a very high risk of delivering lower profitability.

The efficiency with which program managers manage and execute their programs determines the company’s profitability. In the old days, program managers could get away with Excel sheets, shared drives, and emails to manage the program and all communications between the various stakeholders. Though suboptimal, it worked. Unfortunately, this will no longer be true.

Weak links in Automotive New Product Introductions

The team at Actify, Inc. has identified the challenges faced by automotive suppliers and designed a cloud solution to aid suppliers in running their new programs profitably. The Lifecycle Insights team recently attended a briefing call on “The Weak Link in Automotive NPI (and how Actify fixes it).” Here are our thoughts about Actify, Inc. platform supporting supply-chain relations among Automotive OEMs and Suppliers.

It is no secret that Automotive companies are strategizing on expanding their car model offerings beyond traditional ICE into EVs, Hybrids & other entrants. This has transformed the industry as more programs are created, and the range of commodities required to build these cars is increasingly specialized for their unique model offerings. Suppliers are a significant piece of the puzzle and have had to reform their practices rapidly to adapt to the changing needs of their partners. They are expected to meet specific requirements and deliver newer parts in a quick turnaround cycle, which has minimized their margins and exposed them to supply-chain shocks with fluctuating markets and industry trends in the post-pandemic era.

Additionally, many suppliers still employ traditional tracking of the product backlog and measuring supply-demand curves for their parts. This brings friction to their ability to participate in newer programs and gain a competitive advantage. There are also issues concerning workforce depletion as more experienced employees have retired and jobs are automated. With the rise of new automobile programs, new tooling injunctions are required to build modern parts with intricate details & specifications. Integrating effective project management practices also becomes crucial for team alignment and task completion on factory floors. All require an effective solution to effectuate some ownership back to the suppliers in the chain cycle.

Lifecycle Insights has analyzed a variety of perspectives on how these weak links in the Automotive industry can be rectified to yield more value for suppliers. 

How Actify Addresses Automotive NPI Weak Links?

Actify offers a unique platform solution generated through a thorough analysis of challenges facing the industry. Actify APM (Automotive Program Management) has an intuitive UI for users that is efficient and easily operated.

Another useful feature of Actify APM is the immediate, real time updates that show a visible status progression of projects and changes. These changes are communicated in a time efficient manner, such that cross-functional teams are aware of possible risks and deliverable updates. This up to date platform assists project managers and gives visibility to exactly where concerns emerge, and why. A clear picture is always provided using Actify APM, improving performance metrics and aiding in on time launches.

Actify APM also has a distinctive feature that traditional excel spreadsheets and office management tools lack. CAD models and subsequent changes, comments, and attached documents to the models are integrated into the management program. The models and tooling are versioned and cataloged into the program for suppliers directly from the OEM.  A useful check-in, check-out feature exists to alert team members of changes to related tasks for the supplier. A combination of this integrated CAD management and real time updates provide an attractive solution to Automotive NPI weak links.

With the aforementioned features, Actify APM hits the mark with combining a traditional program management solution with some interesting integrated additions. Upgrading from solutions such as excel or share drives to Actify APM imparts an optimization of organizational capability for automotive suppliers.