Inventory Optimization

As The EV Industry Grows, What Do Manufacturers Need in Their Inventory Playbook?

Optimas | September 22, 2021

The electric vehicle industry growing exponentially. For starters, falling battery costs have caused electric vehicle purchases to increase by 43% from only a year ago, and another study predicts that 57% of all global passenger vehicle sales will be electric by 2040.

With electric sales on the rise, competing energy sources are headed the other way. By 2030, the expectation is there will be a ban on the production of new petrol and diesel-powered passenger vehicles.

This uptick in demand means that development processes and electric vehicle supply chains will need to become streamlined, and possibly reimagined. Electric vehicle fasteners, for instance, account for up to 50% of industry manufacturing SKUs and are essential to the vehicle’s infrastructure and its maintenance equipment. How can EV startups improve inventory management and build an array of lightweight, insulated, and cost-effective fasteners that keep up with industry demands? Here are a few solutions:

Get in Early With an Experienced Partner

Team up with a specialist that offers a complete end-to-end experience. This partner should be able to handle design and engineering, BOM analysis, part consolidation, and be able to identify cost-saving opportunities that help you scale quickly and reduce waste.

Choose a partner that can match your needs for availability, complexity, and logistics. Furthermore, make sure that partner is focused and detail-orientated to stay aligned with the production timeline without requiring too many stops along the way.

Understand Your Development Cycle

The most common and disruptive fastening inventory management issues occur when supply chains go through their fastener supply too quickly. If it takes up to 20 weeks for a single fastener to move through the development cycle, any changes in availability can set projects back.

Cut down on lead times by understanding your development cycle. Plan for it, and make sure your partner has experience handling the unique types of fasteners you may need.

Consider Additive Technologies to Increase Testability

It might make more sense for your project to develop through a series of tests and iterations. Build a prototype, test it, and create more cost-effective ways of producing it at scale.

Additive practices like 3D printing can help this method work, by reducing your time to market. Experiment with virtual prototypes to see which ones might stick. Then, turn the specifications from those models into finished products that keep your vehicle both lightweight and functional.

How Electric Vehicle Inventory Mismanagement Can Impact Success

How is this for growth in the electric vehicle industry?

In 2018, just 2 million units were sold.  In 2025, that figure is expected to jump 400% to 10 million sales.

Learning how to manage the invaluable pieces with the electric vehicle supply chain (e.g. fasteners, c-class components) will be critical for companies looking to succeed within the market.

2018 - 2025 EV Sales Comparison

The Consequences of Mismatched Inventory

For challengers in the fast-growing EV industry, it’s not enough to manage whole product supply chains, you need a set of inventory management strategies to avoid problems like:

Green Bins

Mislabelled bins:

Inventory organisation is a big reason supply chains go awry.  Mislabelling Just-In-Time (JIT) and Kanban bins can lead to contaminated stock.  A mislabelled bin leads to the wrong parts being used, which leads to significant supply chain hiccups.

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Wasted time:

Every minute lost during inventory management adversely impacts the bottom line.  When you don’t clearly understand the timeline of different fasteners, components and MRO, it’s easy for a delivery logjam to form.

Clock Time Bin
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Box Question Mark

Supply shortages:

Without parts, there are no products.  Tesla ran up against this problem when it’s supply chain lacked the cells necessary to create the vehicles’ batteries.  Production needs an availability, or an abundance of raw materials and parts.  Without them, your operations could grind to a halt.