New IDC Manufacturing Insights Report Emphasizes: Globalization Making Major Impact on Automotive Industry

New Study Urges Manufacturers to Adopt Process Improvement Initiatives to Enable the Assembly Plant of the Future

FRAMINGHAM, MA -December 08, 2010 – IDC Manufacturing Insights today announced new research, The Assembly Plant of the Future — Restructuring Global Manufacturing to Meet the Challenges of the Global Economy, which discusses the challenges of global manufacturing and how forward-looking automakers are restructuring both design and manufacturing strategies to improve efficiency and remain competitive. The findings of this study — based upon interviews with automotive manufacturers and suppliers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia — will also be presented in an upcoming complimentary Web conference on December 14, 2010 at 10:00 a.m., U.S. Eastern time (visit www.idc-mi.com/events/index.jsp [http://www.idc-mi.com/events/index.jsp] for additional information).

According to the report, the automotive industry is undergoing dramatic changes as it copes with new economic realities, seeks to meet shifting demands in consumer preferences, and incorporates new technologies to improve energy efficiency, safety, and comfort. "The manufacturing of automotives today has not fundamentally changed since 1913 when Henry Ford revolutionized the assembly process by creating the moving assembly line," said Joe Barkai, practice director, Product Lifecycle Strategies at IDC Manufacturing Insights. "It is clear, based on our research, the manufacturing process must be improved dramatically in order to meet the economic and technology challenges of 21st-century global manufacturing."

IDC Manufacturing Insights research indicates that the impact of globalization, growing operational complexity and diverse markets and consumers demand that overall manufacturing strategy should shift from economy of scale to economy of scope, focusing on global flexible manufacturing capabilities. A "design anywhere, make anywhere, sell anywhere" strategy will lead to the formation of a global plant floor. Moreover, automakers will improve portfolio-level planning and incorporate design for capabilities in the design of future vehicles.

No one strategy or approach can meet all these needs and survive the rapid rate of change, the IDC Manufacturing Insights study shows. Manufacturers will have to use a blend of strategies and undertake several process improvement initiatives to realize the architecture necessary to enable the plant of the future. Among these process improvements are the adoption of emerging IT technologies and operating models — especially in pervasive communication, cloud-based architectures, and mobile devices — which will provide a solid foundation for powering the assembly plant of the future.

The complimentary Web conference on December 14th, featuring Joe Barkai and Pierfrancesco Manenti, will include a discussion around the emergence of the global plant floor, the shift from economies of scale to optimization of capabilities, and ongoing efforts to implement effective platform strategies. Managers and practitioners from automotive, heavy equipment, construction and farm equipment, and any industrial sectors involved in global manufacturing will benefit from this presentation. To register, please visit www.idc-mi.com/events [http://www.idc-mi.com/events].

Join the online conversations about this research in the IDC Manufacturing Insights Community at http://idc-insights-community.com/manufacturing [http://idc-insights-community.com/manufacturing].

For additional information about this study, or to arrange a one-on-one briefing with Joe Barkai or Pierfrancesco Manenti, please contact Sarah Murray at 781-794-3214 or sarahbethmurray@gmail.com. Reports are available to qualified members of the media. For information on purchasing reports, contact insights@idc.com; reporters should email sarahbethmurray@gmail.com.

About IDC Manufacturing Insights

IDC Manufacturing Insights assists manufacturing businesses and IT leaders, as well as the suppliers who serve them in making more effective technology decisions by providing accurate, timely, and insightful fact-based research and consulting services. Staffed by senior analysts with decades of industry experience, our global research analyzes and advises on business and technology issues facing asset intensive, brand oriented, technology oriented, and engineering oriented manufacturing industries. International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology market. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG the world's leading technology, media, research, and events company. For more information, please visit www.idc-mi.com [http://www.idc-mi.com], email info@idc-mi.com, or call 508-988-7900. Visit our online community at http://idc-insights-community.com/manufacturing [http://idc-insights-community.com/manufacturing].

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