Requirements for volume flexibility and changeability in the production of electrified powertrains
Anforderungen an Volumenflexibilität und -wandlungsfähigkeit in der Produktion elektrischer Antriebe
Electro mobility is one way to answer the needs of the changing mobility sector. Uncertainties regarding quantities pose major challenges for the capacity planning and procurement. Current forecasts predict a share of electric vehicles between 2 % and 42 % of the whole vehicle production. This paper presents a study that intends to further the understanding of the challenges of capacity planning and the requirements of volume flexibility as well as changeability in the production and purchasing of electrified powertrains. The study relies on expert interviews of managers of the production or procurement departments of three leading German carmakers in the premium segment. The interviews were conducted using a semi-structured guide that addresses six hypotheses concerning market development, long-term capacity planning, identification and definition of courses of action, interdependencies between the production and the supplie, specifics of the production system for electrified powertrains, and access to resources. The study's results show that the volatility in the demand of electrified vehicles is expected to persist for the next 5 years. Consequently, existing demand uncertainties lead to a high number of different planning scenarios, which challenges capacity planners to provide enough capacity by relying on flexibility measures or changeability measures. Moreover, especially in the field of electro mobility, the changing supplier structure must be considered, which requires new processes of and new mindsets for automotive OEMs. Nevertheless, the task of purchasing remains vital to prevent quality losses or significant cost increases. Lastly, the supplier and the purchasing department need to be integrated in the capacity planning process. These main results implicate the need for further research and the development of a decision support system for the capacity planning of the supply chain of electric drive trains to react fast and efficient to volatile volumes.