Automakers and suppliers capitalize on collaboration

Automakers and suppliers can reorganize and structure their partnerships in new ways that drive better collaboration and innovation, industry leaders said in the second of a three-part series of virtual Automotive News PACEpilot events.

The Thursday, June 18, event, centered on partnerships, showcased several of these collaborations.

For instance, Volkswagen and Amazon Web Services’ cloud-computing partnership developed a digital industrial cloud automotive platform for VW.

“As we were looking at where we see the world heading, as we looked at ourselves as an industrial company, we also felt that we needed to transform the company to be more of a technology-based company,” Nihar Patel, executive vice president of new business development for Volkswagen Group of America, said in the webcast.

“We also felt that we probably didn’t have the complete knowledge within our own team to make that come to life. For us, it was very obvious that we’d have to go into much more of a digital operation.”

Patel said the automaker knew it had to make its production and supply chain systems more efficient, and it became obvious that “we had to go digital on steroids.”

“In order to do that, we chose to think boldly. We said that we wanted to create a platform that we could use across all of our production facilities, across our supply chain and logistics operations, and in doing so, we would have access to the best on-time data — on-time whatever you wanted — to be able to run our business a lot more effectively and efficiently.”

The partnership was formed and sought to focus on improving the outcome on production efficiency, said Sarah Cooper, general manager of outcome-driven engineering for Amazon Web Services.

“An opportunity to really transform an industry and to dive deep with a customer as strategic as Volkswagen Group to really understand what the future of manufacturing and the integration of manufacturing with supply chain is, is an excellent opportunity to make sure that we can help be part of bringing the digital services to the market that’s really going to make the industry move forward broadly,” Cooper said.

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