Digitalization has taken over most industries, and the wheel manufacturing industry is no exception. As convenience takes the lead, new technology uses for old processes emerge. Customers value connectivity and anything modern and companies will be smart to adapt to this trend or run the risk of being outshone and buried by younger companies. Similarly, personalization and customization are highly valued, as clients want to see themselves in everything they purchase, with the emergence of personal branding more present than ever. Here are some of the digital solutions and implications that should be considered when it comes to wheels customizing and manufacturing.
From a general point of view, some benefits of digitizing the process of wheel manufacturing could have an important impact on sustainability as well as efficiency. By instating programs that allow for smarter wheels to be built and smarter analytics to take place, production could be adjusted significantly. At the same time, more efficiency tends to come with cost-effectiveness, something that companies need now more than ever.
Self-driving vehicles seem to be closer than ever, and the use of digital solutions has been embraced by companies developing these new methods of transportation. Accordingly, smart wheels are part of the mix, as they could play an instrumental role in the adoption and safety of this type of vehicle. In this sense, there are interesting plans being developed by an important company.
Some companies are braver than others when it comes to adapting the old to the new. Such is the case of Goodyear, a tire company that has been part of the automotive industry for decades. One of the most ambitious projects involves the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for an ultramodern wheel. This would have a spherical design called Eagle 360 Urban and it could become the first of its kind to introduce AI into the mix.
If the design is a success, this wheel could transform and interact with its environment, responding to road and weather conditions. While still in the workshop, this ambitious project could completely change driving as you know it and custom rims manufacturing could be entirely transformed. Depending on how well-developed this AI technology is, even the number of accidents that take place annually could decrease.
An interesting topic when it comes to connectivity and smarter wheels is the implications when it comes to car insurance. With greater traceability and wheels providing information about the conditions of an accident, the way insurance companies work could suffer important changes. Digital monitoring of wheels could play an instrumental role in the concept of user-based insurance. Furthermore, they could provide relevant information when accidents take place. The implications are only beginning to be understood in the context of smart customized wheels and insurance claims and coverage.
3D printing and AI sound like expensive solutions to include in wheel manufacturing. Despite this, it has been established that automotive companies that choose to embrace digitalization could reap the benefits of a $0.67 trillion value at stake. In addition, it has been estimated that the overall societal benefit could be as high as $3.1 trillion, an impressive number that makes this transformation even more attractive. But are there other ways in which digital solutions can be adopted beyond the actual manufacturing of the wheel?
Way before futuristic wheels are fabricated massively, changes in the customer service approach would allow manufacturers to start making the most of digitization. Today, customers should be able to reach out to manufacturers through email, social media, chat, phone calls, and more. The inability to do so might discourage numerous customers, which would mean economic losses. At the same time, the response through any of these channels must be of great quality, as customers expect quick and efficient interactions. Lastly, the more personalized the entire process is, the better.
The word analytics has become incredibly popular for good reason. A great way to improve production, understand the needs of the client and adjust the marketing and manufacturing strategy is making use of analytics. Today, data is king and anyone not making use of it is at risk of staying behind. Analytics can help these companies to allocate their resources where they will be more effective and save on unnecessary expenses guided by outdated information.
Digital technologies can be adopted in different areas of wheels customizing and manufacturing. This is because, like in any other industry, there are multifactorial implications to be considered. While direct manufacturing changes might take place in the future, the adoption of digital technologies in customer service and analytics can make the difference for more than one company today.
In addition, there are numerous societal advantages to consider, including fewer accidents, cost-reduction, and sustainability. While not all of these changes will be a consequence of the use of digital solutions in wheel manufacturing, cars should be seen as a whole. This means that changes to every part of the vehicle will have an important impact. Also, it is well-known that deficient wheels lead to greater consumption of gas, suspension and alignment issues, and overall, a greater environmental impact as well as significant expenses. Digital technologies can aid in this and other aspects of efficient wheel design and production, leading to a better future for these companies and the rest of the world.