Lectra, the technological partner for companies using fabrics and leather, welcomed guests from all areas of the automotive leather supply chain at its International Advanced Technology Center (IATC) in Bordeaux-Cestas, France, for two action-packed days of demonstrations, workshops and talks by industry experts during the fourth annual "Go Digital" automotive leather event.
Building on the previous editions' themes of digitalization of manufacturing processes and the adoption of Industry 4.0 principles, this year's presentations focused on the value creation enabled by leveraging manufacturing data. A showcase for the innovative applications Lectra is developing based on Industry 4.0 principles, the company's trade gathering demonstrated how disruptive new technologies are enhancing the onboard experience while reorganizing the automotive interiors supply chain.
Several guest speakers provided insight into the ways industry megatrends are impacting the automotive cockpit of the future. As motorised vehicles become increasingly autonomous, connected and electrified, cementing their place in the shared mobility landscape, suppliers must now devise new strategies to achieve profitable growth. Traditional business models are losing ground to cross-functional collaboration partnerships, making it even more challenging to compete in the fast-moving connected, shared economy.
"It is disruptive for the entire automotive supply chain," remarks Nathalie Saint Martin, vice-president, group purchasing, Faurecia. "We are all learning to evolve together and enhance the added value to our end-customers. The level of collaboration we are now seeing among suppliers is unprecedented."
Other keynote speeches included market research consultancy Frost & Sullivan's analysis of automotive trends in the data-driven economy, Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) specialist Bureau Veritas' vision of data protection for automotive and a presentation of industry insights firm WardsAuto's selection of top 10 best vehicle interiors of 2018.
The event enables a diverse array of supply chain players in automotive interiors to gather with their peers. "Events like this one are a great opportunity to talk face-to-face with other suppliers about industry-wide challenges," notes Claus Lattner, director engineering, process management, CoC Cut Sew Wrap Global, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors. "It is not often we find ourselves in the same room to talk about consumer perception and the sustainability of leather, for instance."
"The event provided a great opportunity to interact with suppliers who have a direct impact on innovation in interior design and manufacturing," said John Sousanis, managing director of Wards Intelligence.
For Javier Garcia, senior vice-president, automotive sales, Lectra, bringing together the automotive leather community is especially important as it rises to new business challenges stemming from continually changing consumer habits and the digitalisation of manufacturing processes.
"Connectivity and occupant comfort are increasing the amount of high-tech content in automotive interiors, but the up-market appeal of leather makes it a constant," states Javier Garcia. "By fostering exchange, Lectra is doing its part to help the automotive leather ecosystem evolve to meet new consumer expectations."