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The new flexibility

How the ever-evolving vehicle is changing the supply chain that supports it

As we watch the remarkable transformation of traditionally built vehicles into software-defined platforms, it’s equally notable to see how this evolution is affecting the supply chain. Significant change is underway, and it’s changing the way Aptiv supplies our customers, as much as the way our customers are building their cars.

The factors driving this change are easy to spot. We’ve seen an emergence and significant continued electrification of the automotive space. Components such as semiconductors and printed circuit boards are increasingly critical to the functionality of the vehicle, becoming as important as the engines and transmissions of the past. With this emergence comes greater sophistication and complexity, not to mention more technology partners, more vendors, and, ultimately, a much larger ecosystem to manage.

As cars are evolving, so too are the supply chain and manufacturing processes that produce them.

The integrated manufacturing, distribution and supply chain of the future.

Increasingly the four walls of the factory have become ground zero for a highly coordinated logistics and operations network that has to come together seamlessly. Why? Because the only clear path forward for the software-defined vehicles of the future is through smarter, more flexible factories, supported by a more dynamic logistics network.

Aptiv is way past the historical industry bias toward producing everything in-house. We are expanding our contract manufacturing footprint, while also significantly increasing automation in our own factories, to improve flexibility and meet stringent performance expectations. In these factories, global, real-time data and analytics quickly identifies performance opportunities, and highly configurable cells allow equipment to perform multiple functions.

But these factories need something else, too: A more dynamic logistics network that serves both suppliers and customers. On the demand side, this network needs to allow for earlier engagement in concepting and design, access to accurate, real-time demand information, and simplified interfaces. On the supply side, it needs to enable better product readiness at the SOP date, improved on-time delivery and greater automation to reduce cost-to-serve.

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