Decision-makers under pressure to enhance automation in EV manufacturing, Zebra study

  • Industry News
  • Feb 15,23
Zebra Technologies Corporation conducted a survey named Automotive Ecosystem Vision Study which reveals preferences of customers, fleet managers and manufacturers, for upcoming automation of Electric Vehicles, in the industry. Hybrid EVs, sustainable choices, eco-friendliness are key priorities in their vehicle purchase and lease decisions.
Decision-makers under pressure to enhance automation in EV manufacturing, Zebra study

‘Automotive manufacturers are under pressure to accommodate growing consumers’ preference for electric vehicles (EVs) in the near future’ reveals Automotive Ecosystem Vision Study conducted by Zebra Technologies Corporation. Zebra is an innovator at the front line of business with solutions and partners that deliver a performance edge. Automotive manufacturers must plan for a smooth transition to EVs, which have very different requirements from raw materials to final assembly. Technology-led priorities will therefore be focused on increasing automation, building in-house technologies, and expanding visibility across their respective production and supply chains.

Despite a fluctuating economy, automotive manufacturers are ready to invest in technology innovation as seven-in-10 (74 per cent globally, 69 per cent in APAC) expect to increase their tech spend and six-in-10 (67 per cent globally, 63 per cent APAC) plan to increase their manufacturing infrastructure spend in 2023.

The survey was conducted from August to September 2022, with participation from 1,336 respondents globally, including industry decision-makers, fleet managers and consumers. In APAC, 350 respondents were surveyed across India, Greater China, Japan, and South Korea. The study aimed to gauge industry views, priorities and expectations the industry faces and the challenges and opportunities resulting from rapid digital transformation. All data was collected and tabulated by third-party research firm Azure Knowledge Corporation.

APAC consumers including Indian respondents will prefer purchasing EVs in the future

The survey reflects that in the near future, there will be a shift in preference, with more than half of consumers (53 per cent globally, 60 per cent in APAC including India) indicating going for a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV). However, navigating this increasing demand for EVs comes with challenges as 68 per cent of global automotive industry decision-makers (60 per cent in APAC including India) say they are under high pressure to produce next generation (i.e., electric) vehicles, while 75 per cent of them (71 per cent in APAC including India) are under high pressure to deliver products that are more eco-friendly, sustainable, and safer for the environment.
The study also highlights consumers across generations pushing automotive manufacturers’ acceleration to technology innovation as eight-in-10 say sustainability and eco-friendliness are key priorities in their vehicle purchase and lease decisions. 87 per cent of millennials prioritise sustainability in their vehicles followed closely by 78 per cent of gen Xers and 76 per cent of baby boomers. Within the APAC region, the figure follows 92 per cent of millennials, 83 per cent of gen Xers and 72 per cent of baby boomers summing up to 85 per cent of consumers prioritising sustainability the highest.

Consumers are driving the growing emphasis on personalisation – the ability to customise a vehicle to their liking. Nearly four-in-five consumers say personalisation options factor into their decision to purchase a vehicle, and eight-in-10 fleet managers share these same requirements for sustainability and personalisation. APAC consumers resonate with this most strongly when compared with their global counterparts, with 86 per cent prioritising personalisation options in their purchasing decisions, and 92 per cent of fleet managers sharing the same requirements.

While nearly 80 per cent of automotive industry decision-makers globally (77 per cent in APAC including India) recognise consumers expect more sustainable and personalised vehicle options today, around seven-in-10 concede it’s difficult to keep up with increasing customisation demands. As a result, three in four automotive manufacturers globally say a top priority is to build strategic partnerships with tech companies for their next generation of production. This number is lower across APAC, at 72 per cent and 64 per cent respectively.

“While it’s heartening that consumers are leaning towards a greener automotive future with a greater preference towards electric vehicles, this is a signal to automotive decision-makers to actively invest more in safer technologies and robust infrastructure, to better serve their customers,” said Tan Aik Jin, Vertical Solutions Marketing Lead APAC, Zebra Technologies Corporation.

Trust and transparency in automotive manufacturing

Data and information transparency is highly important to consumers and fleet managers alike, and they are seeking more visibility into the automotive ecosystem. When considering a vehicle for purchase or lease, 81 per cent of consumers globally (85 per cent in APAC including India) and 86 per cent of fleet managers (92 per cent in APAC including India) indicate they want to understand the origin of materials and parts on their vehicle. Millennials lead the way in demanding more transparency in automotive manufacturing, as more than eight-in-10 (both globally and in APAC including India) say it is important to have access to manufacturer information along with knowing if source materials and parts are sustainable and understanding how the vehicle is manufactured from end-to-end.
Beyond gaining greater visibility into the automotive manufacturing process, once they have their vehicles, 88 per cent of consumers (82 per cent in APAC including India) and 86 per cent of fleet managers (88 per cent in APAC including India) want to understand how the data from their vehicles will be used by the automotive ecosystem. 
After a vehicle purchase, 83 per cent of consumers and 84 per cent of fleet managers expect ownership and control of the data their vehicle generates. This sentiment is similarly shared within APAC, by 86 per cent of consumers and 88 per cent of fleet managers.

Automotive Supply Chain Visibility

A majority of consumers (79 per cent globally, 83 per cent in APAC including India) and fleet managers (81 per cent globally, 84 per cent in APAC including India) want end-to-end visibility during the manufacturing process. However, only around three-in-10 automotive industry decision-makers say they will prioritise connecting real-time data systems (30 per cent in APAC including India) to enable a holistic view of operations and increase visibility across production and throughout the supply chain over the next five years (32 per cent in APAC including India).

“To provide real-time visibility throughout the supply chain, digitising operations via RFID and rugged handheld mobile computers can ensure that both regulations and sustainability expectations are met effectively and efficiently,” added Tan.
Slightly more than one-third of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) globally and in APAC said autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), RFID, rugged handheld mobile computers and scanners as well as industrial machine vision will improve supply chain management. Similarly, for suppliers, one-third of those surveyed cite mobile barcode label/thermal printers, wearable computers and location technology as the technologies to do so.

“Manufacturers are innovating to meet changing customer demands, and they are increasing their investment in technologies to deliver more personalised and sustainable vehicles. Along with this, they also need to ramp up their end-to-end supply-chain visibility to build the next level of trust with their customers,” said Rajnish Gupta, Vice President and Head, India and sub-continent business, Zebra Technologies. “We are ready to help automotive manufacturers enhance their operational capabilities through digitalisation through varying solutions like the L10ax rugged tablet, RFD90 ultra-rugged UHF RFID sleds, MC9300 DPM mobile computer, and workforce connect, just to name a few.”

Overall, around seven-in-10 automotive industry decision-makers (76 per cent globally, 67 per cent in APAC including India) agree digital transformation is a strategic priority for their organisation. In the next five years, they anticipate expanding their use of technology, with 47 per cent (both globally and in APAC including India) focused on additive manufacturing/3D printing and 45 per cent globally (46 per cent in APAC including India) on supply chain planning solutions.

KEY REGIONAL FINDINGS

North America: 83 per cent of automotive industry decision-makers agree the pace of technological innovations is accelerating at a rate their organisation is struggling to keep up with which is also the highest of any region. They feel they are under pressure to build strategic partnerships with technology companies in order to cut costs and mitigate risk with next-generation mobility production (83 per cent) as well as greater visibility across the supply chain (83 per cent).

Europe: Automotive industry decision-makers are increasingly focused on expanding sustainability, waste reduction, and environmental protection initiatives. 27 per cent say these initiatives are drivers of financial performance and growth, and 49 per cent expect it to be within the next five years.

Asia Pacific: 19 per cent of automotive industry decision-makers foresee an increased focus on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle production over the next five years. Meanwhile, 39 per cent of these decision-makers are also building capacity for next-generation options, such as electric vehicles.

Latin America: 80 per cent of consumers are most concerned about the use of data collected from their vehicle, compared to the global average of 74 per cent. Nearly half (47 per cent) of fleet managers would like to see the automotive industry focus on ensuring automotive data is kept safe, secure, and private, compared to 32 per cent globally.

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