Automotive Manufacturing Facilities and the age of Intelligent Mobility

Mark Grayson
The automotive industry is in the midst of exciting changes, with connectivity and digitisation disrupting vehicle design, manufacture and consumer experience.

Tomorrow's car ownership looks set to change, with new ideas about how cars should be owned and driven. The basic concept of a car's purpose is being challenged, set in a wider context of intelligent mobility.

Intelligent mobility is an approach to connecting people, places and services, encompassing all transport modes and enabled by data, technology and innovation. The aim is to transform the transport of both people and goods, maintaining a focus on efficiency, sustainability and safety of our transport systems and cities worldwide.

Technology has a major part to play, both in improving efficiency in current transport systems and in creating alternative transport opportunities (for example, Uber or self-service city bike schemes). Integrating cars into the sharing economy, via car clubs, could also be an important part of intelligent mobility.

Integrating cars into the sharing economy, via car clubs, could also be an important part of intelligent mobility.

All large vehicle manufacturers and many of the automotive supply chain are making substantial investments in connected and autonomous vehicle technology. Fully autonomous technology remains some way ahead, but partly automated cars are likely to form the majority of new vehicles on the road over the next ten years, alongside the deeper integration of technology into all car systems.

Investment in connectivity is also a priority. Vehicles are becoming connected through mobile data networks and other dedicated communications protocols that facilitate connections with other vehicles, with other devices or machines, or with wider transport infrastructure.

The connected car of the future is not one product, however, but a set of technologies that will change manufacturers’ core business models. It’s likely that manufacturers will seek to add value in three main areas: safety electronics (for example, assistance and lane management), autonomous driving (including adaptive cruise control and self-parking), and connected services (such as integration with wearables and the home).

The industry's supply chain is changing, as the connected vehicle space attracts providers of new digital technologies alongside automotive manufacturers and OEMs. Manufacturers are increasingly forming partnerships with technology firms or investing in acquisitions, to build new capabilities and innovate ahead of the competition.

The industry's supply chain is changing, as the connected vehicle space attracts providers of new digital technologies alongside automotive manufacturers and OEMs.

Behind the scenes of efficient automotive production lie facilities that capture the most efficient technologies and processes. Future-proofing is a key concern for owners of these facilities. Continuing agility, and the need for responsiveness and flexibility, is creating demand for reconfigurable facilities, and this is set to intensify.

Faithful+Gould helps clients define a longer-term strategy around their property portfolios, creating masterplans that prepare for an uncertain future. Ideally, flexibility is incorporated into facility design from the outset, while maintaining the principles of resilience without redundancy.

We begin by understanding the condition of the existing facilities, assessing the lifespan of the building stock and taking account of planned maintenance requirements. We support our clients’ decision-making processes, challenging the linear norms of the production process to explore layouts and specifications that support future flexibility.

Whatever the manufacturing process, positioning supporting infrastructure – energy centres, for example – in optimum locations will allow maximum space and reconfiguring potential for the manufacturing facilities. Efficient flow of product around the site, from raw materials to finished goods storage and distribution, is crucial to ensure consistently high levels of productivity, better returns on investment and adaptability for the future. Not all site developments are new facilities, and planning around existing operations and site constraints are challenges with which we frequently support clients.

Related services

Related sectors