Demand for automation, visibility revs up among APAC auto makers

The technology-led priorities of automotive manufacturers will be focused on increasing automation, building in-house technologies, and expanding visibility across their respective production and supply chains, according to the Automotive Ecosystem Vision Study report from Zebra Technologies.

The survey was conducted by Azure Knowledge from August to September 2022, with participation from 1,336 respondents globally, including industry decision-makers — including OEMs and suppliers — as well as fleet managers and consumers. 

In the Asia-Pacific region, there were 350 respondents surveyed across Greater China, Japan, India and South Korea.

Despite a fluctuating economy, automotive manufacturers are ready to invest in technology innovation as seven in every 10 (74% globally, 69% in APAC) expect to increase their tech spend and one in every three (67% globally, 63% APAC) plan to increase their manufacturing infrastructure spend in 2023.

“Meeting regulations and sustainability expectations will be a priority moving forward, as the automotive sector strives to provide real-time visibility throughout the supply chain, which can be achieved by digitalising operations via RFID and rugged mobile computers,” said Tan Aik Jin, vertical solutions marketing lead at Zebra Technologies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Data and information transparency is highly important to consumers and fleet managers alike, and they are seeking more visibility into the automotive ecosystem. 

When considering a vehicle for purchase or lease, 81% of consumers globally (85% in APAC) and 86% of fleet managers (92% in APAC) indicate they want to understand the origin of materials and parts on their vehicle. 

Once they have their vehicles, 88% of consumers (82% in APAC) and 86% of fleet managers (88% in APAC) want to understand how the data from their vehicles will be used by the automotive ecosystem.

After a vehicle purchase, 83% of consumers and 84% of fleet managers expect ownership and control of the data their vehicle generates. This sentiment is similarly shared within APAC, by 86% of consumers and 88% of fleet managers.

A majority of consumers (79% globally, 83% in APAC) and fleet managers (81% globally, 84% in APAC) want end-to-end visibility during the manufacturing process. 

However, only around three in every 10 automotive industry decision-makers say they will prioritize connecting real-time data systems (30% in APAC) to enable a holistic view of operations and increase visibility across production and throughout the supply chain over the next five years (32% in APAC).

Slightly more than one-third of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) globally and in APAC said autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), RFID, rugged handheld mobile computers and scanners as well as industrial machine vision will improve supply chain management.  

Similarly for suppliers, one-third of those surveyed cite mobile barcode label/thermal printers, wearable computers and location technology as the technologies to do so.

Overall, around seven-in-10 automotive industry decision-makers (76% globally, 67% in APAC) agree digital transformation is a strategic priority for their organization. 

In the next five years, they anticipate expanding their use of technology, with 47% (both globally and in APAC) focused on additive manufacturing/3D printing and 45% globally (46% in APAC) on supply chain planning solutions.