Information Technology (IT) is highly relevant in the automotive sector. Both traditional and new-age IT solutions can be used for a large number of functions within manufacturing, with the end-requirement costs reduction.
One such provider of IT solutions to various industries, including those in the automotive sector, is HTC Global Services Inc. Chary Mudumby, CTO, HTC Global Services, told us via email about the company’s solutions for automotive and ancillary manufacturing industries, as well IT as the integrator of systems. We find out how various IT solutions have resulted in the overall reduction of costs of manufacturing, while making systems more efficient within an organisation.
ROLE IN AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURING
Broadly, the functions in the automotive and manufacturing industry are product design, engineering, manufacturing, production, sales, dealer management, service, and warranty management, while other important functions deal with regulatory compliances such as emissions. Of course, like any other industry, these companies also have functions such as finance, HR, governance, risk management and compliance (GRC). Mudumby said IT plays a significant role in each of these functions and is, in fact, an enabler for all of these functions. He added that IT also helps in integrating all these functions, and fuels R&D as well.
HTC, with its domain and technical expertise, offers services in all of these areas to automotive manufacturing and ancillary companies. The company’s prominent services are in emerging areas such as digital, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) including machine learning and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). HTC also provides solutions in traditional IT areas of enterprise resource planning (ERP), product lifecycle management (PLM), manufacturing execution systems (MES), customer relationship management (CRM), and supply chain, noted Mudumby.
The company typically provides services and solutions to automotive and ancillary customers in the areas of ERP implementation, ERP support, infrastructure support, business intelligence, and analytics, said Mudumby. A prominent service of HTC is in the integration of these IT solutions with each other. For instance, MES and ERP integration removes the disconnect between the top floor and shopfloor, he noted. Mudumby added that increased visibility of information makes for improved customer satisfaction, as the businesses have a better handle on production and delivery. The integration of systems can help automotive companies realise reduced inventory cost and faster time-to-market through much needed operational efficiencies, he said.
HTC works with a number of Tier I and Tier II suppliers, and international OEMs as well. Some suppliers are looking to move their infrastructure to the cloud to ensure they are secure, rather than keeping their own data centres. HTC is in a position to help customers to shift to the cloud, with its own data centres and partnerships, Mudumby noted.
BIG DATA, ANALYTICS & CONNECTED VEHICLES
Mudumby said that Big Data and Data Science, along with predictive analytics and machine learning have the potential to improve every aspect of the automotive industry. Predictive maintenance of components and tools increases the efficiency of operations by reducing downtime at both OEMs and component manufacturers, he added. HTC provides analytics services to increase sales by identifying trends in sale quantity and price of a brand with competing brands in the market, he explained. Solutions like this allow OEMs to devise appropriate geography-specific incentive schemes to increase sales.
Another important use case of Big Data and Analytics is in the area of warranty maintenance and support. Mudumby said HTC has developed these analytics solutions for OEMs in order to help identify the top causes and components that contribute to warranty costs. These solutions also proactively reduce warranty costs by looking for the condition of parts and components, and fixing them during regular vehicle maintenance cycles. Mudumby said that OEMs should also proactively bring in engineering changes to improve quality and reduce warranty costs.
In terms of the emerging technology of connected vehicles, HTC will deliver component-level software development and testing services, said Mudumby. This is made possible with the company’s capabilities in IoT, telematics and mobility, with implications in areas of vehicle safety, infotainment and scheduling maintenance. Mudumby noted that other technologies that will help this disruption are Big Data and Cloud computing. Therefore, HTC is poised to help automotive companies reduce warranty support costs, and increase production throughout at a reduced per unit cost. It plans to do so by optimising factors such as inventory and equipment maintenance, Mudumby said.
Mudumby said that HTC brings capabilities to support and maintain product design, manufacturing, and business applications. It also helps automotive companies and ancillaries to seamlessly exchange up-to-the-minute information between various engineering systems in order to make timely decisions that affect procurement, manufacturing, logistics and supply chain. HTC helps OEMs and component manufacturers to increase their operational efficiencies through predictive maintenance as opposed to traditional corrective and preventive maintenance techniques. HTC helps companies increase their market share by using sales analytics and enabling the marketing teams to design appropriate location based discounts.
TEXT: Naveen Arul