Burgeoning demand from consumers for greater transparency around the sustainability of new vehicles is placing automotive manufacturers under growing pressure to digitise their supply chains, an in-depth study shows.
It also reveals that – while most automakers agree greater visibility is important – most are not prioritising investment in such tech in the coming five years.
Data and information transparency is ever-more important to consumers, meaning greater visibility of the automotive ecosystem is becoming increasingly important to fleet managers.
The Automotive Ecosystem Vision Study shines a light on the pressure automotive manufacturers face to meet growing consumer demand for sustainability and transparency.
It was undertaken by Zebra Technologies, a multinational manufacturer of marking, tracking, and computer printing technologies designed to deliver competitive advantage.
The study shows that when considering a vehicle for purchase or lease, 81% of consumers and 86% of fleet managers indicate they want to understand the origin of materials and parts on their vehicle. Millennials lead the way for more transparency in automotive manufacturing, with 80% saying it’s important to have access to manufacturer information, and to know if source materials and parts are sustainable. Consumers also want to understand how vehicles are manufactured, from end-to-end.
It also reveals the urgent need for fleet managers to digitise operations and the supply chain.
Automakers turning to 3D printing
Overall, 72% of automotive industry decision-makers agree digital transformation is a strategic priority for their organisation. In the next five years, they anticipate expanding their use of technology, with 47% focused on additive manufacturing (3D printing) and 45% on supply chain planning solutions.
Yet although the majority of fleet managers (81%) want end-to-end visibility during the manufacturing process just 32% say they will prioritise investment in the kind of real-time data systems that will give visibility across production and the supply chain over the next five years.
The report also shows that consumers are a driving force behind automakers’ adoption of tech, with 80% of consumers saying sustainability and eco-friendliness are key priorities in their vehicle purchase and lease decisions.
Most millennials (87%) prioritise sustainability in their vehicles, followed by 78% of Gen Xers and 76% of Baby Boomers.
Consumers are also driving the growth of personalised vehicles. However, 70% of automakers say they struggle to keep up with increasing customisation demands. As a result, three-quarters of them say a top priority is building strategic partnerships with tech companies for their next generation of production.
“There’s no doubt the automotive manufacturing ecosystem is undergoing a seismic shift,” says Stephan Pottel, Automotive Industry Lead at Zebra Technologies. “This includes running two manufacturing processes – one for gasoline and diesel vehicles and another for next-generation electric, hybrid and autonomous self-driving vehicles.”
He adds: “The pressure to meet regulations and demands around sustainability is daunting, as is the need to provide real-time visibility throughout the supply chain.
“With the right strategic investments in technology, the automotive industry can meet these expectations and better serve their customers.”