A series of fast-paced development programmes are being phased in by manufacturers seeking to accelerate the time to market of innovative electrified powertrain as a response to stringent future global emissions regulations. These contracting timescales, imposed by a headline 2020 integration goal, rapidly evolving technologies and the potential need for last-minute tooling changes could put added strain on the automotive supply chain, advises emergency logistics specialist, Evolution Time Critical.
“Manufacturers are committing to electrified powertrain as the favoured method of reducing harmful emissions, but with ambitious roll-out targets in place there is a need for extremely tight schedules that increase supply chain pressures,” says Brad Brennan, Evolution Time Critical managing director. “As with the introduction of any new model, there is initially a degree of supply chain uncertainty especially surrounding new locations, technologies or even entirely new suppliers. This is particularly true for electrified powertrain; a technology that is still in its relative infancy and which poses a number of evolving short-term supply chain challenges as it becomes more established.”
The development and integration of electrified powertrain technologies are reliant on efficient design, re-engineering and validation processes in an already contracted timeframe. “New and existing customers have already contacted Evolution about our ability to enable last-minute tooling specification changes though our designated Critical Projects service – the technology and expectations are evolving rapidly and it is vital for supply chains to remain robustly agile throughout development, prototyping and production stages,” explains Brennan. “It is anticipated that some OEMs will require changes to manufacturing specifications right up until the last minute – the ability to optimise the start of production alongside latest technology updates could provide a vital head start commercially.”
The requirement for extended powertrain validation periods within contracted timescales further reduces the margin for error inherent to any automotive supply chain. However, premium freight is able to provide time-sensitive contingency that ensures a supply chain can remain operational, meet short deadlines and sustain production schedules through expedited shipments or re-routing.
“There is a lot on the line at the time of new vehicle launches, so manufacturers cannot afford to risk suffering physical or reputational costs from production issues or, as a worst-case scenario, delivery delays,” concludes Brennan. “This is especially true for electrified powertrain, which could provide a step-change moment for the automotive industry if the supply chain can sustain efficient production and help optimise the public’s initial perception.”