CB Insights recently released a report about trends in the auto & mobility space, which lists a number of technologies and investment activities that will influence the automotive and mobility markets. Evans President Ryan Keepman offers his take on four of the most impactful trends affecting these industries, as well as his advice for remaining in a position of strength during times of disruption and market volatility.
Hi, I’m Ryan Keepman, President at Evans Transportation.
1. Industry layoffs
The automotive industry still does have such a strong footprint here in the U.S. and continues to grow in the U.S. with how many jobs have been brought back. With that said, we saw significant layoffs last year in automotive. Obviously, we watch that very closely at the highest level. Everybody watches the automotive layoffs or potential layoffs very closely that take shape because they are drivers of future markets and the economy in general.
2. Flexible assembly lines
Flexible assembly lines are something that pique my interest personally. The less static of an environment these manufacturers can create the better suited they will be to adapt to a changing economy or changing demands that take shape over the course of a year or so. I'm interested to see how those will truly impact the output.
3. Fully autonomous vehicles
Fully autonomous vehicles have been a big buzz in our industry, and it should be. Over time we do plan to see more and more autonomous vehicles. The investments are significant. The large trucking companies are making huge capital investments in some of the R&D and some of the opportunity to use those vehicles and where they might fit into their networks.
Autonomous trucks [will have more impact] on the front side of the distribution model — so picking up from manufacturers or distribution centers and running the line hauls or the direct routes; avoiding terminals and avoiding the stops that are necessary with humans and the requirements that the DOT has in place for driver hours. So, I see it more affecting the supply chain or distribution on the front end through the line haul and the direct distribution center to distribution center or manufacturer to distribution center before it impacts the final mile or the secondary leg.
You think about the value of data. A lot of these companies today have become so valuable because of the data they capture — the consumer information that is extracted from Facebook, or any of the social media platforms. Same thing for the different centimeters on roads.
The centimeters on roads impact trucking companies and automotive companies because millions and billions of miles are being put on those vehicles. So even the changes in the roads and the different topographical constraints that might exist from a road that’s more traveled or has more damage to it, e.g. more potholes, compared to a road that’s smooth and is a blacktop and is in certain states — all that information does get translated, as crazy as that sounds, into useful knowledge that gets put back into the manufacturing of these goods and the engineering that goes into these goods.
What auto manufacturing trends are you keeping an eye on?