After a prolonged shutdown, markets are reopening for the public, and mobility of the people and goods has begun, though not to the extent of pre-pandemic levels. According to the Economist’s estimation, the increased movement of people and goods is likely to account for one-fifth of carbon emissions. This is an alarming rate of emission, as the nation-states have pledged to attain zero carbon emissions by 2050. Many countries have started taking measures to reduce fossil fuels with alternative green energy solutions, including electric vehicles.
For decades, the auto industry has relied on the sales of conventional vehicles with internal–combustion engines (ICE). Burning one liter of gasoline produces approximately 2.3 kg of CO2. By burning 2 000 L of gasoline a year, an American vehicle releases about 4 600 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere. Both the governments and the private sector have initiated measures to address climate issues and companies across the globe have started issuing climate audits to establish their commitment to the climate challenge. Mainstreaming electric vehicles may address fossil fuel emissions to a great extent.
Market analysts estimated that the industry will grow at a very moderate rate of two percent CARG by 2025 and sales of electric vehicles are quite negligible, as the market for electric vehicles is still evolving. However, demand for electric vehicles is expected to grow sixfold from 2021 through 2030, with annual unit sales from 6.5 million to roughly 40 million during this period.
A McKinsey analysis predicted a 30% rise in demand for electric vehicles in North America alone by 2025, potentially leaving more than 300,000 vehicles short of batteries each year in that region. The growing demand for battery-powered electric vehicles also increases demand for leading-edge software, GPS, infotainment, high-performing computers, advanced driver-assistance features, and electric powertrains. The automobile industry is also encountering several challenges including a shortage of raw materials, supply chain challenges of material, and skilled workforce, acute shortage of battery charging stations, and shortage of factories to manufacture enough batteries to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles.
Can the automobile Industry overcome some of these challenges through workflow automation?
Automated Raw Material Procurement
The auto industry may have to procurelithium, nickel, cobalt, and other raw materials needed to produce batteries to run the vehicles. Companies may also have to procure raw materials including steel, plastic, glass, fiber, rubber, aluminum, and chemicals to manufacture vehicles. Under ideal conditions, the auto manufacturing companies identify vendors who supply raw materials to ensure a steady supply of raw materials to meet delivery deadlines. The auto companies can now call for online quotations and sign all vendor agreements with electronic signatures after verifying prices. Vendors can file online quotations with their electronic seals and signatures to place their quotes only to the intended customer without any data theft and document tampering. Both the company and the vendor can make sure that the document is original and not tampered with, as the electronic signature software enables digital audit trials.
The auto companies can place signed vendor documents on the cloud-native platforms for the vendors to access them immediately, without waiting for email communication to dispatch the digital agreement.
Companies need not spend on papers, scanners to scan the signed copies, and printers to get agreement copies ready for the wet signatures of the concerned authorities. The document management system helps companies create customized templates digitally to auto-fill information available on the device. The companies can drag-n-drop photos, images, and electronic signatures to dispatch agreement contracts, sales deeds, quotation documents, and more on the cloud-native platforms.
When workflow automation is in force, the auto industries can integrate the external and the internal departments to collect and manage data. The procurement managed of an auto industry gets constant alerts on the documents that need his action. Managers can also check the digital dashboards that projects gaps in the raw material stock and the inventory. Employees of the auto industry can now save time spent on manual data entry and focus on customer relations to provide a unique shopping experience.
Overcome Challenges in Hiring Quality Workforce
The electric vehicle sector needs high-skilled mechanical, electronic, and computer engineers who can visualize and design electric and driverless cars capable of transporting people and goods from one point of contact to the other. Companies may need experienced and freshers, who are diverse and scattered across the globe. Automating the hiring process helps the auto industry to spot the best global talent to train locally available resources within no time. Companies can now extend offer letters signed electronically and can complete employee onboarding online. Employee training, appraisals, assessment, and work or performance reviews take place digitally to save time and money spent on printing paper-based offer letters, employment contract forms, and training manuals.
Collaborate With Stakeholders
The auto industry relies on several ancillary and service units for cleaning, washing, interior designing, recharging batteries, and after-sales services like supply of spare parts. Companies may not directly cater to all the customer needs. They collaborate with multiple stakeholders. Companies can now engage all these stakeholders digitally using a digital document management platform that allows companies to create, edit, modify and get the signatures of the multiple stakeholders at once. Companies can bulk-send agreements to multiple stakeholders at once and can get them signed electronically without wasting time.
Streamlined Supply Chain Management
Companies with a sustainable supply chain system remain confident in delivering products as promised. Companies need to track the raw material movement and intervene in bottlenecks if any to facilitate the free flow of goods. Workflow automation of the manufacturing sector generates an automated email and SMS alerts to suppliers, vendors, dealers, and agencies that are directly or indirectly associated with production and quality check. Manufacturing units need not spend time sending reminder emails or calling stakeholders to act on a particular document.
Digital Work Experience
The electronic Signature tools embedded with the document management system enable companies to manage all documents digitally. Companies can now store their contracts, agreements, vendor documents, inventory, and supply chain agency agreements in a central repository so that the internal departments and the concerned external stakeholders can access them directly. The document management system indexes documents making document search, retrieving and archiving easy for the users. Companies can go absolutely paperless and can contribute immensely to mitigating climate challenges.
The market for electric vehicles appears very promising as traditional OEMs, new start-ups and investors have already pledged $280 billion to innovative automotive hardware and software solutions. Over 50% of these investments, up to $115 billion to $120 billion will be spent on electric vehicles (EVs). Companies like NIO, Tesla, and other EV start-ups, with a weighted average TSR of 278% are instrumental in boosting the investors’ confidence in this segment. Digitization and automation enhance the efficiency of the manufacturing sector to further the net-zero emissions to address climate challenges effectively.