A configuration strategy key to EV market success

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Jesper Blak Møller argues the significance of synchronising product, pricing and engineering information early on

The demand for electrical autos (EVs) is rising sharply. Within the US alone, the EV market reached a report excessive in 2022 of an estimated 918,500 gross sales—a rise of over 50% from 2021.

Assembly elevated demand in a well timed trend generally is a problem for any automobile maker, however EV firms particularly expertise some distinctive hurdles to quick manufacturing occasions. Shortages of digital elements, lithium batteries and uncooked supplies can create a glut of orders with few automobiles rolling off the meeting line.

Nonetheless, it’s not simply how these autos are manufactured that’s creating this example; it’s additionally how they’re offered. The pattern of automobile shopping for is quickly shifting on-line, which implies these producers whose product, pricing and engineering information are already aligned on the manufacturing aspect are usually not solely offering their prospects with a greater shopping for expertise, however are additionally a step forward of the competitors. A configuration administration strategy can play a key in making this occur.

The challenges of EVs

EVs are nonetheless comparatively new, they usually’re nonetheless going through big competitors as a result of they require an entire new kind of manufacturing line from what’s used with a gasoline-powered automobile. On the similar time, there’s a built-in competitors between shopping for an EV versus shopping for a standard automobile. That makes it much more vital for EV producers to know precisely what they’re producing, what options they need to present and what choices with which to equip automobiles in every area for a given mannequin 12 months. These aggressive components imply that they should provide one thing additional: a greater shopping for expertise for the client.

A configuration administration strategy can assist producers to ship extra autos, quicker and at higher revenue margins whereas nonetheless exceeding buyer expectations

As EVs develop into extra frequent, extra and completely different rules are rising, significantly across the chemical compounds contained within the batteries that energy EVs and utilized in completely different elements of the manufacturing course of. These differ by nation and are repeatedly evolving. For EV producers, staying in compliance with these rules makes it additional vital that they keep exact management over the definition of the elements and supplies they put into their merchandise.

Then there are altering calls for for the customer expertise. A latest examine discovered that Technology Z is the fastest-growing section for EV buy consideration. Youthful individuals have completely different calls for in relation to the shopping for expertise than the earlier generations. They need to begin the shopping for course of at residence, work out what choices they will get in a sure automobile of their nation, and decide the worth. They need to proceed that purchasing expertise at a supplier or in a showroom. That’s an omnichannel expertise and this requires that EV producers have full management of their product definitions and costs to make sure a easy, coherent and constant shopping for expertise.

Extra cohesion throughout capabilities and departments

As producers within the EV area deal with these challenges, they want a cohesive resolution that spans the assorted departments concerned. This can assist with inside collaboration to construct merchandise, align on product definitions, and decide what choices can be found for a sure automobile and so forth. Most automobile producers as we speak don’t personal the whole manufacturing and improvement of all of the elements that go right into a product; they’re possible sourcing some elements from sub-suppliers. That additionally makes it extra vital for them to have a single supply of fact for working with the product definition.

Immediately, extra shoppers search an omnichannel shopping for expertise. This additionally requires alignment throughout engineering, manufacturing and repair, and gross sales. Having a single supply of fact ensures that gross sales departments know precisely what they will realistically provide prospects. It allows a easy, frictionless transaction from order to supply with no back-and-forth spent on correcting errors or misconfigurations.

A configuration administration resolution gathers product configuration from the gross sales, service, manufacturing and engineering departments and validates all attainable configurations

There’s additionally a necessity for flexibility on the patrons’ behalf whereas additionally lowering complexity on the manufacturing aspect. As an illustration, think about in case you might set up the identical seat in all automobiles with choices for heating and cooling, after which patrons can allow these choices later in the event that they need to. You wouldn’t have the complexity of managing 15 several types of automobile seats in a number of markets.

A demanding youthful technology doesn’t simply settle for the ‘one measurement suits all’ idea. They need a automobile that’s precisely configured to their wants. They need the choice to determine later if they need heated seats and to activate that possibility then. The configuration course of lives on.

Why select configuration administration?

A configuration administration resolution gathers product configuration from the gross sales, service, manufacturing and engineering departments and validates all attainable configurations. Then the system organises this information in a file that’s condensed and simple to entry, validates this information, and supplies quick and correct entry to it within the configuration course of.

With this method in place, prospects have a greater shopping for expertise as a result of misconfigurations aren’t attainable; there’s no back-and-forth to appropriate a buyer’s order. Engineers aren’t capable of design a product which you can’t manufacture. The gross sales employees don’t have the flexibility to promote a product which you can’t engineer. The manufacturing operate can’t obtain an order that’s unfulfillable, and the service division may have a transparent image of the put in base to allow them to provide environment friendly, worthwhile upkeep.

The automobile buying panorama is swiftly transitioning in direction of full on-line transactions, and demand for EVs is rising sharply. Producers which have already synchronised their product, pricing and engineering information throughout manufacturing not solely improve the person expertise but in addition acquire a aggressive edge. A configuration administration strategy can assist producers to ship extra autos, quicker and at higher revenue margins whereas nonetheless exceeding buyer expectations.

The opinions expressed listed here are these of the creator and don’t essentially mirror the positions of Automotive World Ltd.

Jesper Blak Møller is Director of system structure at Configit

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