What is in store for the automotive industry in 2020? Terry Onica gives her unique perspective and predictions for the year.

tech on the automotive lines

In looking at what’s on the horizon for 2020, one thing that I believe is certain for the automotive industry – uncertainty. Geopolitical risks such as trade wars and tariffs are leaving the industry in a relative standstill with regards to making significant advancement in once headline-grabbing initiatives like Industry 4.0, autonomous vehicles, the scale-down of the internal combustion engine, mobility and more.

The bottom line is no one really knows exactly where the industry is headed. What we do know, however, is how to be prepared to adapt and respond to what’s coming down the road in the next year. Here are a few strategies to consider:

Be prepared for anything: Act now to make sure your IT systems are ready to adapt to market changes when they happen. Manufacturing companies and suppliers need to be agile enough to effectively respond to change. Have the right underlying technology that is modernized and secure is critical.

Get the right planning tools in place: If organizations are not scenario planning for potential geopolitical, economic or technology developments, it could mean bankruptcy or extinction in the years to come. It is critical to do an impact analysis using “what if” scenarios in order to reduce exposure to risk. Organizations that continue to manage this process through complex spreadsheets, which are prone to errors, will not be able to keep up with all the scenarios facing them in the future.

Re-plan and re-analyze: Once the proper tools are in place, organizations should re-plan and re-analyze as often as the markets shift. This is especially important in an industry like automotive that is experiencing a period of extreme volatility.

The key to future viability is to act now, even though it may seem counterintuitive in this year of uncertainty. And while it may be a bumpy road in some aspects for the automotive industry in 2020, with the right vision and tools in place to ensure agility and flexibility, manufacturers and suppliers can navigate these disruptive forces. Better yet, they can be best prepared to capitalize on disruptive innovation opportunities it can bring.

terry onica
Terry Onica

Terry is the director, Automotive, QAD Inc. She is passionate about leveraging technology to improve supply chain performance. Terry travels to QAD employees and customers to train them on software as well as trends in the automotive industry and the impact of those trends.