Suppliers missing out on automation benefits

A new global survey has revealed that the benefits of automation are not being leveraged in the automotive supply chain, despite most companies accepting that the technology can vastly improve efficiencies.

The survey, commissioned by ABB Robotics and conducted by Automotive Manufacturing Solutions (AMS), found that 97% of respondents believe that automation and robotics will transform the automotive industry over the next five years, with 96% predicting that software, digitalisation and data management will be equally significant.

It revealed that OEMs and start-ups are investing in the technology either ‘very well’ (38%) or ‘quite well’ (28%). However, only seven per cent said that Tier 2 suppliers were making the necessary investment and only three per cent thought Tier 3 suppliers were.

Joerg Reger, managing director of ABB Robotics Automotive Business Line, said: “Automation has traditionally been seen as the preserve of only the very largest manufacturers. But the reality is that automation can make smaller companies more resilient, flexible and efficient.”

Daniel Harrison, automotive analyst from AMS said: “While both new and established manufacturers are making key investments, the essential upstream supply chain supporting them is not moving as quickly. This could prove problematic in terms of costs and also the speed new and increasingly complex components for EVs and connected cars are delivered to the factory. Affordable and practical automation and robotics needs to be available to the entire industry.”