3 Things with Matthew Renna, Jon Allen and Terry Onica

Three people talk about three different things important in the industry. In this case: EVs, the Automotive Supply Chain, and Cloud Connected Vehicles.


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Matthew Renna

Matthew Renna (Image: VW)

Matthew Renna, Vice President e-mobility, Volkswagen Group of America

What do you think the tipping point is for EV adoption?

Are we not already at the tipping point? The narrative over electric cars has shifted away from “do customers want them” and toward “can we get enough production.” There are certainly outliers, certain products that need some refinement, but the market response so far to many EVs has been overwhelmingly positive. But we will not see a shift in market share or total volumes until we get more factories converted and more batteries produced.

What do you think the ID.4 will bring to the market?

We are bringing tremendous industrial scale to the electric vehicle segment. Volkswagen is at the top of the industry at high quality, advanced technology production across our group platforms. The cost efficiency and price point are a promise that we will deliver at scale.

Why is VW investing so heavily into EVs worldwide?

We are aligned with scientists that climate change is real and that humans are to blame. It’s no question that the transportation sector is a leading cause, and that clean energy transportation will have a meaningful impact to these figures. We are also aligned with the financial markets, who are accepting science as part of their investment strategies. Companies who are not investing in clean technologies will have significant risk to their future value.

Terry Onica

Terry Onica (Image: QAD)

Automotive Supply Chain

Terry Onica, Director, Automotive, QAD

What's the status of the auto industry supply chain today--versus what was a year ago?

Supply chain professionals learned they can manage the supply base from home. Many supply chain executives that I have spoken to were pleasantly surprised by just how effective they have been. Prior to this, most all believed it would be impossible.

The pandemic exacerbated the workforce shortage due to enhanced unemployment benefits, virtual schooling for children and fear of contracting the virus itself. These factors have left OEMs and suppliers scrambling for innovative ways to address the shortage including, in some cases, plant shutdowns. 

The ability to do more real-time scenario planning using solutions versus spreadsheets. Not only was short-term challenging during the restart, but mid- to long-term planning also became a significant concern. Organizations found they needed faster tools to project the impact of the virus combined with the disruptions that were already occurring due to the transformation from the internal combustion engine to the electric vehicle.

What does a company need to do to assure it has a robust supply chain?

Our industry learned how poor we were at communicating quickly, effectively and efficiently down the supply chain. Customers and suppliers throughout the supply chain need a central command station to manage end-to-end interaction and collaboration. A supplier portal can provide this support and help address critical items in restarting including bulletins, restart checklists, quality, performance and risk.

What are some of the prevailing misconceptions about establishing and maintaining a solid supply chain?

That you can run a plant on an old ERP or with spreadsheets and survive without a cost/impact to your operations. According to a recent AIAG survey, the most challenging activity in the restart was responding to immediate customer delivery requirements. You cannot understand your current position fast enough without a modern ERP, especially when you are experiencing frequent demand changes.

John Allen

John Allen (Image: AWS)

Cloud Connected Vehicles

Jon Allen, Director of Global Automotive Professional Services, Amazon Web Services (AWS)

What does AWS Auto do for the auto industry?

AWS is enabling the digital transformation of the automotive industry, working with customers like Volkswagen as they build their Industrial Cloud, bringing together real-time data from the company’s 122 plants on AWS to manage the effectiveness of operations and track parts and vehicles. Toyota is using AWS as they expand Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform to manage the next generation of mobility services for cloud connected vehicles. AWS is helping its automotive customers develop more efficient and resilient supply chains, speed up AV development, provide adaptive guidance and recommendations for EV owners, and imagine next generation dealer tools.

What is the role of the cloud for autonomous driving?

Autonomous vehicle (AV) development requires tremendous amounts of data and analysis. AWS' nearly unlimited storage, compute capacity, and deep learning support help customers, expediting algorithm training, testing, and iteration, which contributes to lower costs, safer AVs, and sooner go-to-market schedules. Lyft runs millions of simulations on AWS gaining confidence in updates before taking physical vehicles on the road. Not only is Lyft able to power the immense computing needed to develop Level 5 AVs, it is able to do so in a way that efficiently leverages its ever-expanding data set using direct data uploads to the cloud and flexibility in computing power.

What are the security/operational risks that cloud-based services present to OEMs?

For AWS, security will always be our top priority. We have a shared responsibility model with the customer; AWS manages and controls the components from the host operating system and virtualization layer down to the physical security of the facilities in which the services operate, and AWS OEM customers are responsible for building secure applications. AWS has been architected to be the most flexible and secure cloud computing environment available today. Our core infrastructure is built to satisfy the security requirements for military, global banks and other high-sensitivity organizations.