Collaboration Vital for the Success of SDVs

Infor tells automakers and suppliers that a transitioning future requires agility, scalability and security enabled by collaboration.

Paul Myles, European Editor

June 11, 2024

3 Min Read
SDV Graphic (Getty)
SDVs need seamless interaction between automakers and suppliers.Getty Images

Collaboration between companies has never been more prevalent in the automotive industry and is bound to increase dramatically to keep up with the needs of the software-defined vehicle.

That’s the view of Peter Maithel, global automotive strategy lead for software specialists Infor. Speaking to WardsAuto, Maithel believes the SDV will accelerate the need for companies to start considering software requirements even before the design stage of any vehicle hardware to ensure the optimum consumer experience.

He says: “With the move towards software-defined vehicles it has become increasingly important for traditional OEMs to now collaborate with suppliers. For example, Bosch, among other major suppliers, are now establishing their own software units. Because software and hardware move in different cycles and different pace of development, you have to be able to collaborate with those software providers when you are building an engine, for example.

“Software has to be part of the manufacturing process from the very beginning – this collaboration cannot happen early enough in my view because the later you bring software into the development process, the cost goes up exponentially.”

Maithel adds that even comparatively small vehicle items can have an adverse impact on the automaker’s customer experience and, hence, its own reputation and engagement with the customer. He explains: “We need to do this to create that customer experience that is expected these days. If you take a customer-focused view, let’s say on the plant floor, your machine goes out of calibration slightly and you make a part that is slightly off-spec. That part then causes a warranty issue and that’s a customer satisfaction issue.

“That’s the whole end-game and the reason for collaboration, because companies have to look at everything from a customer experience level.”

Maithel believes the industry is in the throes of a transition, not just on product, but on the way it manufactures that product involving all the main players needed to produce a modern SDV. He says: “In the auto industry it’s what I call a linear supply chain: There’s the automakers and then there’s been the tiered supply base. What is happening now, specifically with the whole connected autonomous electrified case, is that the supply chain is now an ecosystem.

“Now, you just don’t collaborate with your suppliers, you have everyone in this network from traditional manufacturers, media providers, retail providers, telecoms, municipalities, you have map and navigation, infotainment. You have all this content and these stakeholders are working to get inside the vehicle to interact with that customer and monetize those services.

“So, this makes a very great need for collaboration not just for within your four walls or your traditional supplier base but across an entirely different network of both traditional and non-traditional players. Everyone is on a different technology platform, everyone has got different cadence of doing things and you have to bring that all together and there are technologies to make that happen.”

Maithel concludes it is urgent for automakers to keep up to speed in the digital race to create SDVs that the consumers want. He explains: “To anyone in the modern automotive supply chain, I would say you cannot afford to be on the disconnected siloed legacy systems anymore. It’s like bringing a chariot to a Formula One race – you are not going to get very far. Also, if your competition is moving to these connected systems, that link to the new ecosystems, which allows you to have data hygiene and gives you the ability to leverage that data to give you in the insights you need. You need to do something and get into something that’s agile and scalable and cybersecure.”

About the Author(s)

Paul Myles

European Editor, Informa Group

Paul Myles is an award-winning journalist based in Europe covering all aspects of the automotive industry. He has a wealth of experience in the field working at specialist, national and international levels.

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