Apr 1, 2021

Volkswagen increases renewable energy in EU plants to 95%

SmartManufacturing
Sustainability
Automotive
Volkswagen
Georgia Wilson
2 min
Volkswagen, sustainable, automotive
Volkswagen Group has made significant progress in supplying its EU plants with renewable electricity...

Furthering its commitment to sustainable practices, Volkswagen Group reports significant progress in supplying its EU plants with renewable electricity in 2020. The automotive manufacturers share of renewable electricity purchased increased from 80 per cent to 95 per cent at its EU production sites within a year.

Similarly Volkswagen has made strong increases in other global sites outside of China rising from 76 per cent to 91 per cent. 

Volkswagen’s EU production sites

In total eight production sites in the EU were completely converted to external supply with electricity from renewable energies in 2020. The automotive manufacturer has set ambitions to have all EU sites supplied with 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2030. 

Volkswagen outside of the EU

Outside of the EU and China, two production sites were completely converted to external supply with electricity from renewable energies in 2020. Volkswagen also plans to hit the same target for its global operations (excluding China) by 2030.

Volkswagen Group is working with its Chinese partners to develop targets for its production sites in China. Due to the high proportion of coal-fired power in China and the highly regulated market, Volkswagen states that this project will be particularly challenging.

2020 sustainability achievements

In 2020, 46 per cent of Volkswagen Group’s total global energy consumption in its production operations were covered by renewable electricity, an increase of 5 per cent compared to the previous year.

"The transformation of the Volkswagen Group into a CO2-neutral company has gained momentum. In this context, supplying our plants with renewable electricity is an important part of the overall decarbonization strategy. We are consistently implementing our plans together with all brands and regions, and in 2020 we have already come very close to the target lines that we actually only marked for 2023 and 2030. That's an encouraging milestone. However, we are not resting on our laurels. The energy transition in production also includes an ambitious conversion of the power supply at the Chinese production sites. In addition, we also want to further reduce greenhouse gases in our in-house electricity production,” said Oliver Blume, Board Member, Volkswagen Group (responsible for production). 

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May 12, 2021

Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers

SmartManufacturing
DigitalTransformation
DigitalFactory
ConnectedFactory
2 min
57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support smart manufacturing digitalisation

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.”

Change Management

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.

Discover Gartner's Five Best Practices for Post COVID-19 Innovation' in manufacturing.

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