Mohit Bansal, the first K, chairman, and Co-Founder of K2 Group India. Launched in the year 2012, with two aspiring entrepreneurs, it is now a large Indian Conglomerate supporting over 17+ unique business ventures with a vast client base across 4 different countries.With an aim to support ideas, dynamic, creative, and impactful enough to make a difference in each field K2 Group carefully branched out into several ventures collaborating with one of the finest minds to provide people with products and services of quality and class, finer than most of the competitors already in business.
The COVID-19 pandemic put an unprecedented impact on every business, and the automotive industry is no exception. Disrupted supply chain, closure of manufacturing units, global economic slowdown, government restrictions on travel, and consumer behavior changes had a devastating impact on the auto industry, resulting in billions of losses. Ever since the lockdown, the automotive manufacturing business landscape has become highly volatile, thus innovation in business model is critical to recovering from the effects of COVID-19.
Here are some of the preventive measures adopted by automobile industries to reboot and maintain sustainable growth during the coronavirus.
The auto industry accounts for a major portion of the country’s GDP and employs thousands of workers across the country. The lockdown restrictions not only affected the industry but also the livelihood of employees. As the auto industry is reopening factories to rev up manufacturing, companies are taking special preventive steps to ensure the safety and security of the workforce. Checking temperature while screening, providing additional protective gear to workers, staggering starts and stop times, and creating different entrances are some of the changes administered at the factories to gradually start the production process while ensuring the safety of workers. Lesser workforce, continuous health monitoring, and redesigning workplace with modifications such as deactivating elevators, increasing ventilation, and well-spaced workstations could give a head start to the automobile manufacturers to address disruption. In the future, companies can offer more opportunities for remote working to better leverage the global talent pool.
Building Resilience in Supply Chain
Ever since lockdown, automakers are requesting potential clients to bear with the “waiting period” due to a shortage of critical parts required for manufacturing vehicles, which has applied a brake on the production. Automobile supply chain managers depend on thousands of manufacturers and suppliers to streamline parts, and a delay in one section of the distribution channel results in the overall production line getting shut down. The disrupted supply chain means a shortage of inventory, delay in the production process, and ultimately revenue loss. Therefore, automakers are rebuilding supply chains to optimize automotive parts visibility, enhance inventory management, and introduce effective risk management to mitigate negative consequences. Reducing reliance on a single supplier, setting up early warning inventory systems, and integrating sustainable measures could help to secure resilient and robust supply chains. Communicating expectations through a supplier code of conduct and setting compliance standards could further help to improve supply chain management. Besides, the government is taking various initiatives to boost the domestic production of automobile parts to reduce reliance on other countries, which could help auto industries to accelerate production and reduce costs.
Employing Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 technologies were already creating big shifts in the manufacturing processes and the lockdown acted as a catalyst to accelerate the innovation. The global pandemic created a need for auto industries to reduce reliance on humans and look at alternative options in car production. Industries are widely adopting highly efficient technologies to feature a mix of automated and manual approaches for manufacturing operations. The technology removes the human equation completely, right from including the raw materials to constructing the final product and further facilitating the transport of the vehicles, thus it does not put a break on the operations even amid crisis. The robotics-led approach will change the role of human beings from workers to supervisors, which can be done remotely. Industry 4.0 includes connectivity, advanced analytics, and automation that could help companies to improve product efficiency, promote service effectiveness, and create new business models. As the automakers continue to emerge from the crisis, automation will become stronger than ever to achieve stated objectives.
Analytics can play a fundamental role in adapting to the new normal. From understanding the buying pattern of customers to discovering equilibrium between the need to ensure safety and hygiene, analytics can be leveraged. Combining structured and unstructured data to understand consumer behavior, evaluate trends, and gather hidden insights can help automobile manufacturers to predict better and thrive. Social media analytics can be utilized to create marketing strategies for targeting potential customers based on demographics to be more productive rather than spending a large sum on extensive field research to reach customers. Early detection of emerging opinions can be of considerable value for automobile manufactures to come up with innovations that fulfill the needs of the future. Furthermore, analytics can be combined with business acumen to create data-driven decisions encompassing various aspects, from offering different financial options to enhancing the buying experience.
Develop Digital Platforms
Indian automakers are investing in developing digital tools for boosting vehicle sales through online platforms. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the consumer views and behavior towards online car purchase and the digital marketplace is only going to evolve post-pandemic. With personalized marketing strategies, the companies would be able to better target potential customers who are reluctant to visit the nearest showrooms. With reduced dependency on car dealerships, customers expect a different buying experience, full of choices, flexible, and convenient. The abundance of choices, comprehensive information, online reviews, video walkthroughs, and after sales are contributing to the success of digital auto sales. Companies that invested heavily in the digitalization of resources and services are reaping huge benefits. Incorporating artificial intelligence can result in higher sales and reduced marketing costs all while providing a satisfying retail experience to the vehicle buyer. For best results, automobile manufacturers can seamlessly blend digitized, customer-first experiences with in-store experience and transform their culture to move forward towards a smart future.
Despite the current situation, the purchase intent for automobiles is gradually increasing with ease down of lockdown restrictions so manufacturers will have to face the task of meeting an evolving set of expectations such as improved connectivity, ensuring sustainability, and introducing a higher level of autonomy. Now automobile manufacturers are better prepared by taking effective prevention steps and ready to take mobility to the next level utilizing some of the most advanced technologies. Prioritizing employee protection, ensuring business continuity planning, and inevitable operational firefighting can help the automotive industry for both short-and long-term.