Volkswagen: industry-wide data exchange for efficiency
As a founding member of the - which currently consists of 25 partners - Volkswagen Group, alongside its partners, is pursuing the creation of uniformed standards for the exchange of data in the automotive value chain.
The aim for this network is to serve as the base for a digital ecosystem in the automotive industry for manufacturers, suppliers, dealer associations, and technology suppliers. Volkswagen expects such data exchange to result in new opportunities for increased efficiency and transparency in production and the supply chain.
“Data is a key driver for Volkswagen on the path to becoming a sustainable digital company and can become even more important, if we share certain data across corporate boundaries. To tap into the full potential of a data network, we need uniform standards and common principles. With Catena-X, we are creating this valuable foundation to enhance our productivity through the secure and sovereign sharing of data and improve transparency along our supply chain,” said Gerd Walker, Head of Production and Logistics at the Volkswagen Group.
“Digitalization and networking play a key role for the production and supply chains of the future. On the one hand, constantly connected data chains from the supplier to the manufacturer enable the flows of material to be organized more efficiently, meaning supply bottlenecks can be identified early on. On the other hand, digitalization helps us to strengthen processes for observing environmental protection and human rights standards and to make supply chains even more transparent on these sensitive points,” added Murat Aksel, member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG with responsibility for Purchasing.
As part of its efforts to achieve industry-wide data exchange, Volksagen will incorporate years of experience from networking its global factory structure with the cloud into the development of the Catena-X data infrastructure. The automotive manufacturer will also work on specific applications such as supply chain optimisation and business partner master data management.
Partners involved in Catena-X include: BMW AG, Deutsche Telekom AG, Mercedes-Benz AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, SAP SE, Siemens AG and ZF Friedrichshafen AG.
IHS Markit/CIPS: UK Manufacturing PMI near-record high
UK manufacturing trends
For the UK manufacturing sector, growth of output and new orders were both reported by IHS Markit and CIPS as among the best seen over the past seven years, which in turn has led to a strong increase in employment. Despite this, the sector continues to face supply chain delays and input shortages, which resulted in increased purchasing costs and record selling price inflation.
UK Manufacturing IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®)
Seasonally adjusted, IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) rose to 60.9 in April, which was an increase compared to March (58.9) and above the estimated 60.7 for April.
Increasing for the eleventh consecutive month, the latest readings are the highest since July 1994 (61.0). The output growth for April has been attributed to the loosening of lockdown restrictions, improving demands and a rise in backlogged work.
“The manufacturing sector was flooded with optimism in April as the PMI rose to its highest level since July 1994, bolstered by strong levels of new orders and the end of lockdown restrictions opened the gates to business. It was primarily the home market that fuelled this upsurge in activity though more work from the US, Europe and China demonstrated there were also improvements in the global economy. This boom largely benefited corporates as output growth at small-scale producers continued to lag behind,” said Duncan Brock, Group Director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.
In addition to expanding production, total new orders rose for its third consecutive month, which was attributed to a revival of domestic market conditions, stronger client confidence, parts of the economy reopening and improving global market conditions.
While new exports rose in April, the rate was reported as weaker in comparison to new orders. “Companies reported improved new work intakes from several trading partners, including mainland Europe, the US, China and South-East Asia. Large-sized manufacturers saw a substantial expansion in new export order intakes, compared to only a marginal rise at small-sized firms,” said IHS Markit/CIPS.
UK Manufacturing’s outlook
Remaining positive at the start of the second quarter, 66% of companies forecast that output will be higher in a year's time, which is attributed to expectations for less disruption related to COVID-19 and Brexit, economic recovery, improved client confidence and new product launches.
“Further loosening of COVID-19 restrictions at home and abroad led to another marked growth spurt at UK factories. The headline PMI rose to a near 27-year high, as output and new orders expanded at increased rates. The outlook for the sector is also increasingly positive, with two-thirds of manufacturers expecting output to be higher in one year’s time. Export growth remains relatively subdued, however, as small manufacturers struggle to export,” said Rob Dobson, Director at IHS Markit.
Adding to comments from IHS Markit and CIPS, , Managing Director of Freight and Logistics at Accenture Global said: “While today’s figures are positive overall, the worsening supply situation is still a concern, with rates of both input costs and selling price inflation running far above anything previously seen. Shipping delays and material shortages are driving huge backlogs of uncompleted work and the surge in manufacturing orders is leading to many firms struggling to boost operating capacity to keep up with demand. With business expectations becoming even more optimistic as the economy rebounds, the big question will be whether firms will be able to cope with the surging inflows of new orders.
“As ongoing supply chain issues are still at large, companies with wide international footprints should look to reassess their logistics strategies by running supply chain stress tests and simulations in order to respond quickly to upswings and variability in demand. A flexible and resilient supply chain will be a key way for businesses to remain both competitive and stable as we emerge from the pandemic”