Welcome!

IBM Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: IBM Cloud

IBM Cloud: Article

Automotive Industry Solutions

IBM's middleware innovates change

You don't have to look any further than your own driveway to get a sense of some of the challenges facing the automotive industry.

First, is the type or brand of vehicle you're driving now different from your previous vehicles? The answer is likely yes. The days when buyers bought a Chevrolet, Ford, or another brand again and again are largely over. Today, many people also move between economy cars, sporty cars, mini-vans, SUVs, and luxury cars as their needs and desires change. This makes it very challenging for automotive companies to meet customer demands and to do so ahead of fierce competition.

Second, what happens when your vehicle needs maintenance? There's hardly any do-it-yourself anymore, and maintenance and repair is not simple for professionals. Increasingly sophisticated vehicles chock-full of intricate electronics and software have made it more difficult, and more essential, for service professionals to receive ongoing training. Parts suppliers also must keep pace with the ever-increasing complexity. If they don't, quality suffers, warranty issues and costs increase, and customer satisfactions drops.

Third, was your vehicle made in the U.S.? Whether or not your answer is yes, foreign-made vehicles have become so common that U.S. manufacturers are grappling with significant over-capacity in their manufacturing capabilities. That pressure on efficiency undermines their businesses.

In addition, automotive industry players need to compete on a global scale, offer costly incentives to customers, and deal with increasing government regulation. As a result of these pressures and more, the industry needs to keep in lock-step with rapidly changing customer demands and improve quality and efficiency from product design to vehicle service across their operations.

Many are looking to information technology (IT) to help them do so. They need to integrate their business and IT processes within and beyond their own organizations to allow them to respond with speed to customer needs, technology issues, market opportunities, and competitive threats.

IBM has worked closely with automotive customers for years. The top 10 worldwide motor vehicle and parts companies listed in the July 2003 Global 500 use IBM WebSphere software. IBM Rational is number one in embedded software test automation tools, and seven of the top 10 worldwide automotive manufacturers use IBM Lotus e-learning solutions.

In addition, IBM has created software solutions designed specifically to address the challenges facing the automotive industry. The solutions are part of IBM's effort to deliver solutions based on customer preference for buying solutions designed for their industry. Each solution draws on the appropriate capabilities from IBM's WebSphere, Lotus, Tivoli, DB2, and Rational middleware brands, and IBM's industry-specific middleware combined with applications from independent software vendors (ISVs) and industry-expert services.

IBM automotive solutions can speed the design and development cycle, and improve plant operations and dealer communications. From design to ongoing service, the solutions help companies analyze data to improve quality and customer satisfaction. They also provide ways to meet varying customer expectations and respond faster to market shifts. Offering better collaborative tools and automating early warning business processes allows for cost-effective development and deployment.

"Each solution has multiple scenarios that address a range of industry challenges," said Larry Carvalho, market segment manager, Automotive Industry, IBM Software Group. "And they're based on open standards and industry initiatives so that companies can begin by addressing any challenge they choose and move on to the next when they're ready."

The solutions are also designed to allow customers to reuse existing and new applications and components. "The solutions are based on a services-oriented architecture which means that each application (including legacy applications) can be constructed as a Web service to be reused and added to as needed," said Chae An, director, Industrial Sector Solution Development, IBM Software Group.

"This approach also enables the integration of back-office applications, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, with plant floor applications or devices, such as those for scheduling, robotics and printing at a manufacturing facility," said An. "Also, because of the open architecture, the applications can integrate in today's heterogeneous IT environments," he added.

IBM's solution for automotive product design and innovation helps companies more effectively collaborate within and beyond their organizations. Automotive manufacturers have long depended on single-vendor CAD/PDM solutions to support their enterprise-wide engineering and design activities.

In recent years, however, industry trends including mergers and globalization, increased product complexity, more dynamic and volatile partnering on product value chains, and the need for tighter team integration and collaboration with primary partners and suppliers have created new challenges for OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), their primary suppliers, and their product line value chains. More and more, first tier suppliers are being forced to deploy, maintain, and integrate a widely heterogeneous environment of CAD/CAM/CAE and product data management systems, particularly if they wish to participate in multiple product value chains.

The design and innovation solution helps enable effective collaboration in these heterogeneous environments by providing seamless integration of PDM systems from multiple software vendors. This ensures that all parts of the system are well integrated and work together as one coherent enterprise PDM. The solution extends the basic capabilities in IBM's Business Integration (people, process, information) portfolio for federating data and processes across multiple heterogeneous PDM systems and data sources in a product design, development, and manufacturing environment. This enables real-time visibility and centralized access and management of product data, configuration, and process information throughout the product life cycle, across the partners working together in product design and development.

The solution also has an embedded system life cycle management offering that combines software, services, and consulting to improve the strategy, design, and support of in-vehicle software and electronics. These systems are expected to provide much of the innovation for automotive companies in the future and they also have a tremendous impact on vehicle warranties. The offering improves embedded system design, thus reducing warranty issues and improving product differentiation through enhanced features.

In addition, IBM has put together a set of investments, initiatives, and solutions that create a leading-edge, open standards-based hardware platform for computer aided engineering (CAE) simulation and analysis targeted for the automotive industry. Designed to help automotive companies find new ways to reduce product development time and cut costs for increased quality and competitiveness, the Automotive Engineering Innovation Framework (AEIF) initiative extends IBM's capabilities in Product Life Cycle Management (PLM). It also brings together IBM expertise in Grid and Deep Computing, virtual products, process innovation, and more.

Just as in the design and development process, automotive companies need to improve their manufacturing productivity. They face cost pressures and decreased profits due to excess and obsolete inventory, poor on-time delivery which has hurt customer satisfaction, difficulty implementing product innovations which hurts market share and limited ability to make the most of system capabilities such as electronic procurement.

IBM's solution for automotive manufacturing productivity addresses plant floor systems, ERP, and supply chain management.

For plant floor systems, the offering provides an integrated set of processes, tools, and services that help reduce the cost and complexity of IT for plant operations, improve plant management decision-making, and increase the flexibility of manufacturing operations.

The ERP offering helps companies integrate systems within and outside their organizations so they can make real-time, knowledge-based decisions within the supply chain. The solution allows an enterprise to extend data outward and collaborate effectively with partners, suppliers, and customers. The result is improved productivity and forecasting, as well as reduced cycle times and investments in inventory.

The supply chain management offering helps companies balance demand and supply, improve customer service, and optimize inventory levels by continuously planning in real time across organizational boundaries. Its process, organization, and technology elements assist companies with production planning, profit optimization, and yield management. As a result, automotive companies can reduce planning cycle and lead times, as well as increase order fill rate, inventory turns, and throughput.

Another IBM solution for the automotive industry deals with sales and service issues. It consists of offerings to address quality insight, dealer collaboration, and consumer insight.

Quality issues facing the industry include recurring product recalls and rising warranty costs. IBM's quality insight offering is a process and technology infrastructure framework where the combination of information integration, analytics, and automation identifies and predicts defective products. It does so by creating an enterprise-wide view from manufacturing through customer ownership, thus providing capabilities for risk management, warranty cost containment, quality, and product improvement programs. The ownership experience can be improved and brand loyalty strengthened.

Automotive companies also need to improve their collaboration with dealers. Currently, they incur high costs due to inconsistent processes across dealerships. In addition, customer satisfaction is low and the relationship between dealers and parts manufacturers (OEM suppliers) is deteriorating.

IBM's offering for dealer collaboration, a workplace and business process infrastructure framework, focuses on improving the customer buying and ownership experience. It does so by enhancing collaboration and consistency of processes between the dealer and OEM partners. IBM's Workplace platform provides role-based capabilities for different personnel such as sales managers and mechanics at a dealership. Mechanics, for example, could view 3D drawings and instruction manuals using Workplace capabilities. Within this offering, automotive parts information is managed by the WebSphere Product Center.

The solution, therefore, helps provide dealers with integrated content, improved sales, purchasing, delivery of parts, accessories and service, issue management, and education throughout the aftermarket demand chain. The result is lower process costs, a better buying and ownership experience, and improved relationships between dealers and their suppliers.

Gaining insight into consumer needs is also important for automotive companies. In addition to declining customer loyalty and low customer satisfaction, they have had to absorb high sales incentives costs and have had difficulty implementing effective marketing programs. IBM's offering for customer insight includes enterprise and dealer customer relationship management capabilities, call centers, marketing, and customer intelligence telematics. The use of these capabilities can reduce call center costs and enable marketing programs through better intelligence.

IBM also has solutions for finance management and for human capital management. The solution for human capital management addresses the industry's high HR function costs and inconsistent HR processes. It also helps automotive companies speed up their responsiveness to HR service requests, and provide cost-effective training. The solution for Finance Management helps improve forecasting accuracy, shorten planning cycle times and the time between closing books and issuing financial reports, cut costs in the finance function and improve compliance with regulations.

"Understanding the industry's needs is key to the effectiveness of all the solutions," Carvalho said, and to ensure that this insight continues to be part of its offerings IBM is active in industry groups working on IT issues. Among them are the Automotive Industry Action Group, a U.S. organization similar to groups in Europe and Asia, which is working on industry standards for business-to-business integration, and the Automotive Open Systems Architecture (AUTOSAR) consortium, which is working on the creation and adoption of globally recognized, open-standards-based platforms for the electronics and software in vehicles.

"The pedal-to-the-metal pace of change in the automotive industry makes it a constant challenge for its players to be first to the finish line," said Carvalho. "But the right IT solutions can make a big difference in who wins the race."

More Stories By Larry Carvalho

Larry Carvalho runs Robust Cloud LLC, an advisory services company helping various ecosystem players develop a strategy to take advantage of cloud computing. As the 2010-12 Instructor of Cloud Expo's popular Cloud Computing Bootcamp, he has already led the bootcamp in New York, Silicon Valley, and Prague, receiving strong positive feedback from attendees about the value gained at these events. Carvalho has facilitated all-day sessions at customer locations to set a clear roadmap and gain consensus among attendees on strategy and product direction. He has participated in multiple discussion panels focused on cloud computing trends at information technology events, and he has delivered all-day cloud computing training to customers in conjunction with CloudCamps. To date, his role has taken him to clients in three continents.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...