Digitisation gives rise to opportunity

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) Open Forum returns to Automechanika Birmingham on 6 June.

The event brings together automotive supply chain companies and other stakeholders to highlight the cutting-edge technologies and trends that will influence the next generation of vehicles.

SMMT recently highlighted a £2.6 billion opportunity available to automotive suppliers from embracing new, innovative digital technologies. These include virtual and augmented reality, advanced robotics, 3D printing and artificial intelligence, all of which will be used to manufacture the increasingly connected and autonomous vehicles coming to market.

This year’s first SMMT Open Forum will provide a platform for senior automotive industry delegates to hear from vehicle manufacturers, technology companies and industry thought leaders how digitalisation is already happening and what it means for the future of the supply chain.

The impact of computing power and the increased connectivity in our cars will also be explored, along with the need for the development of the UK’s battery supply chain – a crucial area to support domestic manufacture of ultra-low and zero emission vehicles.

The confirmed speaker line-up for Open Forum includes: Judith Richardson, vice president of purchasing, Nissan Europe; Alan Draper, director, purchasing, Ford of Europe and Global Team Value Management, Ford; Professor David Greenwood, advanced propulsion systems, WMG, University of Warwick; and Sarwant Singh, senior partner and partner in charge EIA, Frost & Sullivan.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, ‘The introduction of new digital technologies into our automotive supply chain is hugely important as we look to secure the UK’s place as a test-bed for the next generation of connected and autonomous vehicles. Digitalisation has the potential to make factories more efficient by reducing machine downtime and maintenance costs, enabling cars to come to market more quickly – which is good for consumers. Success here will go a long way to securing the future prosperity of the entire automotive industry and it’s crucial we remain an attractive destination for inward investment in the face of strong competition from overseas.’