GM invests US$800mn to convert CAMI into large EV plant
In an announcement made by General Motors (GM), the company has reported plans to invest US$800mn into converting its CAMI manufacturing plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, into a large-scale commercial electric vehicle (EV) facility.
“BrightDrop offers a smarter way to deliver goods and services. We are building on our significant expertise in electrification, mobility applications, telematics and fleet management, with a new one-stop-shop solution for commercial customers to move goods in a better, more sustainable way,” commented Mary Barra GM Chairman and CEO on the launch.
The investment of US$800mn is said to support GM’s timing to deliver BrightDrop EV600 in late 2021, and enable GM to convert its CAMI manufacturing plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, into Canada’s first large-scale commercial electric vehicle (EV) facility.
Transformation works will begin immediately to transform CAMI, supporting jobs and transforming work at the plant in the next two years. Following the completion of the transformations CAMI will produce EV600s instead of its Chevrolet Equinox vehicles.
Stating that BrightDrop solutions are “designed to help businesses lower costs, maximise productivity, improve employee safety and freight security, and support overall sustainability efforts,” GM reports that Bright Drop is an all new business with GM that offers its commercial customers “an ecosystem of connected and electrified products and services designed to improve the delivery of goods and services from the first to last mile.”
GM’s latest builds upon the manufacturers commitments to the country, in recent months GM has made several investments including:
- Nearly US$1.03bn into
- US$86mn product and US$22mn Renewable Energy Cogeneration project at St. Catharines
- Nearly US$135mn investment in after-market parts operation in Oshawa
Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.