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Automotive is a fast-moving industry and keeping up with the latest trends, opportunities and threats is a major challenge. This is why IFS takes part in the Odette Conference 2015 which brings together decision makers and experts from across the global automotive industry to make keeping up just a little bit easier.

Odette 2015 takes place in Munich, Germany, next week and we’ll be there as an exhibitor. But we’re there as much to listen and learn as we are to showcase what IFS Applications can do for companies in the automotive industry.

Here are some of the main topics that will be discussed:

RFID throughout the Supply Chain

The application of RFID technology in the automotive industry is gathering speed. A number of companies now use this technology internally for control of production and flow of materials. In finished vehicle distribution, RFID is becoming an anchor point for the automatic identification of vehicles themselves as well as the truck or trailer on which they are being transported.

Industry 4.0 and its implications on horizontal integration

Horizontal integration is seen as a fundamental pillar of Industry 4.0. As we know it so far with traditional EDI, horizontal integration has been about making companies, suppliers, and customers closely linked.

But what about the integration of departments such as engineering, production, and service, and functions from the enterprise to the shop floor level? Are companies connected for more than the procure-to-pay process? Are physical machines and parts connected with their counterparts at the supplier’s end? Are processes flexible enough and even auto-configurable to meet specific demands? Is EDI sufficient to meet the challenges?

I discussed this topic in August in my post Greasing the wheels of the automotive supply chain.

Logistics challenges and automotive trade barriers in Russia and Brazil

Topics to be explored include the specifics of customs clearance when importing into the Russian Federation, the storage and handling of goods for the Russian automotive sector (a large amount of SKU, selection of the WMS system, the combination of different categories of goods upon delivery), and the distinctive features of the transportation of vehicles taking into account the long distances in Russia.

Understanding the uniqueness of the supply chain and logistics infrastructure of one of the largest countries in the world is the first step in preparing for logistics in Brazil.

Challenges with returnable packaging in China

The automotive industry is a global leader in using returnable transport packaging. But adopting such a packaging concept in China and Asia is a slow and challenging process.

Only with the help of governments, non-profit organizations, leading manufacturers and service providers can initial doubts be overcome and (in)tangible profits and benefits be realized for all.

“Old” but “new” EDI standards and new Union Customs Code

In terms of ICT, the late 1970s were a very different world. We had telephones with dials and maybe a Commodore PET. Yet in the German automotive industry, we continue to use EDI messages that are 40 years old to control modern production sites worldwide.

Choosing between classic EDI and web EDI solutions and selecting the appropriate service providers are just some of the challenges in building a communications infrastructure that can achieve efficient order management, optimize production planning and ensure on-time delivery.

And last but not least, one of the most exciting topics in each industry:

Implications of 3D printing for after-sales service logistics in the automotive industry

3D printing (also referred to as additive manufacturing) offers a huge potential to increase the sustainability of after sales service supply chains.

So, six major developing trends that we’re going to pay close attention to in Munich next week. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you after the event.

  • If you plan to be at Odette 2015 on either of the two days, November 30 or December 1, do come and see us in the exhibitor hall.

(Photo by Jordi Bernabeu Farrús, used under Creative Commons license.)

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