Tag Archives: automotive

Enter the Digital Consumer, Driver, Services Buyer


LinkedIn Pulse The driver consumer holds the keys to $1.5T in future vehicle enabled digital services.


Working with a number of our large automotive customers, it becomes clear that what it means to become digital – and to run a digital business – can take on many forms and meanings to different companies based on their organization and their position in the automotive value chain. I have written about the advent of connected platforms, whereby suppliers are moving to land grab specific elements of the ecosystem and lay claim to their use. This includes a number of scenarios about the enhancement and transmission of information from the individual consumer as a driver whether it be to the car, the home, the household appliance and mobile device. McKinsey estimates the market for vehicle enabled digital services to grow to $1.5T by the year 2030.

Understanding how the consumer will function as a services buyer, however, is an entirely different matter whether that individual is a personal vehicle owner, rideshare passenger, renter or simply a passenger in a friend’s car out to the movies and dinner. And while automakers are determining how to enable that customer experience one thing is clear: the driver consumer wants the same, easy to use experience to carry with them from one vehicle to the next, regardless of role or method of use of a vehicle.

What do I mean by this? Digitally connected customers move seamlessly across vehicles with their secured personal identity and profile available for the use and purchase of services. Vehicles maintain the most driver desired customer experience based on real time feedback to engineering designers, significantly reducing warranty claims and updating software during non-use windows. It shouldn’t matter if I’m a passenger in a rideshare or renting a luxury vehicle for the weekend in the big city, my wallet and profile move with me based on personal credentials, personal preferences (pre-sent entertainment, services palate, etc.) and secure on-board data connectivity.

Vehicles are maintained based in similar consistency. Soft service events – uploading software versions or even tuning firmware – occur in off peak times or as needed based on severity. Hard service events occur at low-use hours to reduce labor and operating expense while maximizing availability of vehicles during peak times. Parts are available as needed, at the quickest route to service locations.

Automakers are learning more about the advanced options to support consumer connectivity as drivers, buyers and passengers and the ability that secure data environments supported by SAP HANA can deliver.

This article previously appeared in LinkedIn Pulse and D!gitalist Magazine. Learn more about trends in autonomous and connected vehicles at SAPPHIRENOW in Orlando, Florida (May 15-19) and secure your spot today!


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Filed under automotive, Digital Content Strategy, Mobile Society, Strategy, Technology

Addressing New Conflict Minerals Requirements: Key Success Factors for Processes and Reporting

As part of our ongoing work with compliance software maker iPoint-Systems, we recently published interview findings of trends in various manufacturing industries around the Dodd-Frank Section 1502 “Conflict Minerals” provision.  2013 marks the first mandatory reporting period in the United States based on the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) final ruling in August, 2012.  Our article looks at what some of the organizations are doing – and not doing – to ready themselves for new process and reporting activities.

As companies spent the recent year-end holidays closing their fiscal books and creating program budgets for new products and services into 2013, a small and seemingly obscure clause in one of the widest reaching financial reform acts in modern history has added concern and challenge to product manufacturers across industry segments.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 contains a small but very important section addressing so-called “conflict minerals” – referred to as 3TGs (tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold) – harvested from the Democratic Republic of Congo and surrounding countries. The people in these areas are experiencing war atrocities, human slavery, and other human rights violations cited by the United Nations.

As such, Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act suggested that this issue requires an aggressive supply chain reporting mandate. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made final rulings on this provision in late August 2012 ascribing any publicly traded company and their suppliers to “include a description of the measures it took to exercise due diligence on the conflict minerals’ source and chain of custody” and file a new SEC form SD beginning in 2014 for the 2013 calendar year. The initial reporting period for tracking compliance efforts begins in January, 2013.

Far-reaching Impacts

According to leading industry experts in the field, the effects of the conflict minerals provisions are extensive. “It’s not just whether you are a public company, in which case you for sure must report and show due diligence through your supply chain. Also, private companies and companies that are part of the US company’s supply chains will be affected, as the requirements are cascaded down the value chain. It has been suggested by the SEC that the number of companies that may contain trace elements of conflict minerals could be in excess of 280,000,” notes Thomas Bley, senior project manager for software maker iPoint-systems and participant in a number of industry work groups.

One of the challenges that make conflict mineral compliance to Dodd-Frank so encompassing is the level of trace elements of 3TGs found in most electronics components, used in everything from computers to automobiles to household appliances. It is difficult for one company on its own to trace the flow of materials in raw form back to the component suppliers, however Dodd-Frank requires even deeper due diligence to determine the actual location of the mineral smelter. Some organizations have stated publicly that obtaining declarations of conflict minerals to a level of only 40-60% is sufficient.

“That’s a risky proposition,” suggests Bley. “While there are no penalties for using conflict minerals in company products, the regulations require that a ‘reasonable country of origin inquiry’ is performed. Those companies that lag in this area risk ‘named and shamed’ by the consumer public and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs),” creating a possible impact on brand reputation and sales.

You may read the full article on the Ethisphere website.  Kind thanks to Thomas Bley, Katie Boehm, Andreas Schiffleitner  and Stefan Lenssen for their support on this project.  You may follow iPoint-Systems (@iPointWorld) and Ethisphere (@Ethisphere) on Twitter.

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Filed under Audit and Oversight, Cloud Computing, Compliance, Global Trade, Information Technology, Operations, Procurement, Program Management, Risk Management, Supply Chain Management, Sustainability, Technology

The Origins of Technology Materials Gain Importance

In her recent article from SIGNAL Magazine, published by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA, www.afcea.org), Rita Boland looks at the mandates that will affect electronics manufacturers and how they track certain supplies following legislation aimed at reducing violence in Africa.  These so-called “conflict minerals” are defined in Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010.

Section 1502 of the law amends Section 13 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, mandating that persons who require columbite-tantalite (coltan), cassiterite, gold, wolframite or their derivatives to build their products report annually regarding where they obtained the materials. Derivatives include metals such as tantalum, tin and tungsten, all common in the electronics industry—the business sector that may be most affected by any regulations.

Organizations that use electronics in their products—including the avionics and automotive industries as well as government developers—also will be affected. In the law, the definition of conflict minerals further extends to those determined by the secretary of state to finance conflict in the Congo or an adjoining country.

Rita was kind enough to include several quotes from yours truly in her article, along with colleague Michael Bierkandt of iPoint Systems.  You may read the full article here.  Thanks again to Rita for her generous use of our interview quotes.

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Filed under Compliance, Operations, Procurement, Risk Management, Supply Chain Management, Sustainability, Technology