Report shows that unprecedented change will see major car brand fail in next three years…
More than half of respondents to ‘The Innovation Race’ – a Protolabs report that explores
the challenges and opportunities for Europe’s car makers – expect a big name to fall victim
to the unprecedented period of change currently being seen across the globe.Stricter environmental regulation in the coming 12 months was deemed to be the most
pressing short-term concern (55%), whilst 52% believe a new entrant will disrupt the market
with a revolutionary new kind of vehicle over the next three years.
The survey, which interviewed over 300 senior leaders from car makers and major suppliers
including BMW, Daimler, JLR, Magneti Marelli, Volkswagen and Williams F1, also
highlighted the move to the next industrial revolution, with 71% indicating that they need to
adopt Industry 4.0 or digital processes in order to survive.
“There appears to be a perfect storm developing in the automotive sector, with trade wars,
Brexit and the race to electrification creating a time of extreme change for the car brands
and supply chain,” explained Bjoern Klaas, Vice President and Managing Director of
Protolabs Europe, the world’s fastest digital manufacturer of custom prototypes and low-
volume production parts.
“With so many challenges to face, it is imperative that the industry continues to invest in
R&D and its collective ability to bring innovation to market quickly. And with this report
highlighting the unprecedented change expected within the next three years, it’s almost a
case of innovate to survive and then thrive.”
He continued: “Nearly 70% of people said they felt under the most pressure of their entire
career to innovate, with two thirds agreeing that without a strong R&D function the business
would cease to exist.
“That’s a very powerful message to send out and underlines what we are seeing with our
own business, as demand continues to rise for our service that gives companies the
capability to develop new parts within 15 days. Speed to market is absolutely crucial in
‘Strengths and weaknesses’
The Protolabs report was completed during July and involved 300 leading automotive
professionals from France, Germany, Italy and the UK.
Respondents work across senior management, R&D, engineering design, technology and
supply chain management, providing one of the most comprehensive overviews of the
sector recently completed.
Innovation was a core theme throughout the survey and it revealed a mixed picture when it
comes to how prepared companies are in meeting this agenda.
On a positive note, 69% said they were satisfied they can scale up a new innovation, with
three quarters indicating that they are set-up to include customer insight in the early-stage of
the design process.
However, almost half of firms are less confident in discontinuing an unsuccessful product
without suffering a negative impact, whilst 40% feel their innovation strategy is not as
aligned as it should be with the corporate vision.
Bjoern concluded: “There’s a real willingness to innovate, that’s clear to see. The issue now
is that there are so many changes taking place in the automotive sector that even the
biggest names are struggling to keep up or are confident they have all the answers.
“That’s where outsourcing non-core competences or tapping into external expertise can be
so crucial to gaining that competitive advantage, none more so than in the increasingly
digital world manufacturing finds itself in.”
For further information and to download the report, please visit www.protolabs.co.uk
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