Hanns Peter Becker

“Supplier Inside”: the critical future of automotive suppliers.

Are suppliers going to be left behind as the automotive megatrends race speeds up?

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Self-driving cars, V2X communication (both vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure), and electric motors will revolutionise the value creation chains currently in place, while new entrants such as Google, Apple, and Tesla throng into the industry; meanwhile, multi-modal transport and mobile online services will reshape consumer behaviour entirely. All of this begs the question of whether the European automotive suppliers will be able to continue their track record of innovation – and of where and how they fit into this Brave New World.

As it stands, the strategies automotive suppliers have deployed to date are at risk of becoming obsolete. OEMs are extending their sphere of influence ever further into what has, thus far, been supplier territory; sooner or later, this will lead to a damaging erosion of suppliers’ unique selling points – and corresponding dangers to their profit margins. As far as we can see, there are three potential strategic courses of action which can help to shore up suppliers’ positions. In this essay, we will be taking a detailed look at each of these options:

- CAUTION: focussing on component development and optimisation
- INNOVATION: reaching for system leadership alongside OEMs
- EXPLORATION: staking out new territory e.g. in digital infrastructure
Hanns Peter Becker (CFO of e&Co. AG) is an experienced specialist for R&D topics in the automotive world, especially in the field of electronics and technical product development. With more than 20 years of experience, he is a sought-after expert in development management, development process optimization, R&D organizational design and the new fields of automotive electronics. Numerous successful assignments as task force leader and project manager in complex development projects (electronics and embedded software) round off his expertise.