Article: Do we need a specific solution for automotive program management?

Do we need a specific solution for automotive program management?

In this Solution Review, Chad Jackson of Lifecycle Insights discusses the three phases of automotive program management and Actify’s solution for each area.

Do we really need a new solution for automotive program management? Let’s talk about Actify. We’ve done reviews on Actify in the past. It is an interesting technology, where you can point tools at different sources of information and overlay them onto 3D models. It is an interesting way to navigate and search through information. Recently, Actify has come out with three different solutions for automotive program management.



Now, these three different solutions really do address three different phases of program management. The first one is all about business development. So here you’re really looking at not only to kind of win the business, but how can you do it profitably? In the automotive industry, suppliers make long-term commitments to these programs that will play out over five years to a decade. You got to make sure you take a good deal. If you don’t, it can mean bad things financially for the company.

The next thing is program execution. It’s important that you gain visibility into how a program is being executed. You need to be able to take corrective action very quickly if you’re falling off pace or the costs are different. So, gaining insight into the execution of a program is very important.

And the last thing is post-program analysis. So after the program has been finished, after you’ve kind of delivered the contractual requirements after that decade is over, there’s a lot of analysis that happens to look at, okay, how can we do it better? Where can we control costs better in that type of thing?

Each of these capabilities is really important for automotive suppliers. If you make a mistake in any one of them, it can spell financial doom for your company, especially when margins are already incredibly thin. So again, it’s important to get this right and a lot of companies have really struggled to do that.  The information you need in each of these three phases is kind of spread out all over the place. They are spread out in lots of different systems so getting an accurate picture in any one of them is very difficult. So what has Actify done here?


Well, they’ve come up with three different solutions, one for each of these phases. The critical thing is it can connect and pull out information that is stored in many, many different systems. You might kind of associate it with PLM because you know for a long time it’s held a lot of 3D capabilities. It can connect into and kind of serve up information that’s related to PLM, ERP if you want to look at stuff like inventory, carrying costs, all types of other business information, as well as MES, execution information about how quickly things are being delivered, what is the rate of non-conformances and that type of thing. So in each of these three different solutions, it could connect I mean, frankly not only do these three types of solutions but many other ones.


Okay, so what does all this mean for automotive suppliers? In the past, automotive suppliers had to have several employees manage the problem because it was a very manual and very human resources intensive type of process. It often took longer to get the right information and review it causing suppliers to make wrong decisions along the way, which had significant financial ramifications for companies.

So here we have sets of solutions that really are tailor made for these problems. They get you the right views, so you can make better decisions. They connect you to the right information and kind of display that in a way that makes sense. It really is a tailor-made solution for these specific types of problems. And frankly, I wish there were more of these types of solutions that go after a specific problem and not so generic.


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