The UK’s automotive manufacturing industry has an annual turnover of £69.5 billion, contributing £15.5 billion to the economy. Over 30 vehicle manufacturers produce more than 70 car models in the UK alone — a process that wouldn’t be possible without the support of the automotive aftermarket including over 2,000 car parts manufacturers.
As Britain explores hybrid and electric vehicle capabilities, and continues the drive towards more efficient cars, it’s crucial that car parts manufacturers stay ahead of the curve. With that in mind, in this blog post, I will be analysing the key trends impacting the automotive aftermarket both now and in the future.
The continued growth of automation
Automation has already impacted manufacturing in general — a trend that is only set to grow in the future. For the automotive aftermarket, precision and the timely delivery of products is key. With a large number of part manufacturers in the UK, if you’re not able to meet their needs, chances are your competitors will. Therefore, to successfully hold onto your market share, you’ll need to move with the trends — and that means embracing automation.
As technology develops, you may find that you can introduce automation into parts of the manufacturing process that previously were not possible. While this will help improve efficiencies, you’ll also need to consider how the changes will influence the wider operations of your factory. For example, will employees require additional skills? Can these be provided through training?
With competition growing between car part manufacturers, there’s an on-going race to maximise the potential of pre-existing automation processes. For a real-world example, look no further than our work with Arlington Automotive. By harnessing the power of the Internet of Things, we were able to capture real-time performance data from one specific press. This heightened visibility and enabled a 16% rise in productivity, upping the number of parts created per minute to seven from the original six.
While you may have already adopted automated processes, now is the time to refine them further to increase productivity. This can only be a positive in a sphere that prioritises efficiency, productivity and quality.
As well as utilising technology within the manufacturing plant, there’s growing demand for connectivity in cars. As car manufacturers react to this shift in consumer demand, car part manufacturers are presented with an emerging market of connected car products.
A report by Strategy& has suggested that connected car product sales will quadruple by 2020, providing a lucrative market to venture into — if you have the flexibility and forward-thinking.
Succeeding in your sphere will largely rely on your ability to stay abreast of industry trends. Recognise what vehicle manufacturers are looking for and invest in the technology and processes needed to deliver this. Doing so will give you the opportunity to position yourself as an industry leader within an emerging market.
Of course, to cement this status, you’ll need to move with the industry. Staying at the forefront of connected car components is key to success.
You can’t have missed the development of self-driving cars in recent years. While they are still yet to go mainstream and remain largely in the trial stages, it’s undeniably a trend that is poised to change the industry as we know it. In fact, according to Forbes, estimates predict that there will be 10 million self-driving cars on the road by 2020, with one in four cars being self-driving by 2030. The imminence of this trend is clear.
As the trend develops, car part manufacturers can expect a rise in manufacturers looking for smarter components for their cutting-edge vehicles. To meet this demand, they’ll need to work smarter — whether that’s investing in new equipment with greater capabilities, improving staff knowledge around key areas or simply monitoring developments.
Evidently, there are plenty of new developments within the automotive sector. If car parts manufacturers fail to adapt to the changing market, they are at risk of getting left behind.
From entering new markets to fully harnessing the power of automation, one thing is consistent: only with an ongoing commitment to innovation will it be possible for car part manufacturers to meet demand and ultimately stay at the forefront of the industry.
Helping manufacturers to innovate is at the heart of our solution K8 Manufacturing; our ERP software comes ready equipped to embrace Machine-to-Machine technology, connecting your manufacturing business to new data streams and enabling you to reap the benefits of the Internet of Things. For more information, request a demo today.