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Electric Vehicle Sensors: The OEM/Supplier Partnership

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If you’ve worked in the auto manufacturing industry for any length of time, you probably know this story:

It wasn’t the first Model T rolling off the production line that made Henry Ford beam with pride, it was the second that followed shortly after. The two identical vehicles parked next to each other proved Ford’s moving assembly line worked and could open vehicle ownership to the masses. 

There’s a reason Ford Motor Corp.’s production system worked. The components needed to build vehicles -- whether produced in-house or provided by one of Ford’s original 20 parts suppliers -- were readily available and proven to work. Had any single part been unavailable or defective, building the “Tin Lizzie”  for the masses would not have been possible.

The automotive industry is light-years beyond the Model T and its production methods. But the tenets of having a fully functional supply chain still matter -- especially now as manufacturers are taking giant steps into mass production of electric vehicles. 

Sensor technology for electric vehicles plays as important a role as the ammeter did for the Model T. They provide the electronic “brains” of the vehicle the necessary information to assess the environment and react appropriately to changing conditions.

With the expected lifetime of a typical vehicle now approaching 15 years and even longer with EV’s, partnering with a supplier that delivers high-quality, durability-proven sensors consistently -- from those for battery thermal management to HVAC system performance -- is critical to meeting the quality expectations of the modern automobile market. . It can mean the difference between a successful transition into mass EV production or one that leaves your company scrambling to recover.

5 Benefits of Partnering With an Electric Vehicle Sensors Manufacturer 

Nothing slows down an auto manufacturer’s production more than a partner that doesn’t hold up its end of the deal. Sourcing quality and high-performing vehicle components shouldn’t be a roadblock. 

A long-lasting partnership with a reliable and reputable supplier for electric vehicle sensors brings several benefits to your vehicle-making operation that make life easier:

  1. Predictability 

  2. Dependability 

  3. Familiarity 

  4. Efficiency 

  5. Cost savings 

 

1. Predictability 

In the world of mass vehicle manufacturing, predictability with a components supplier goes a long way toward keeping new cars, trucks, and buses rolling off the assembly line.  

Not only does predictability breed comfort; your relationship becomes efficient. There’s no need to second guess your sensor manufacturer about its ability to meet deadlines or provide products that meet your specifications. With production runs and service needs that result in a decades-long relationship, it is good to know the supplier understands the market and has a business model that can support investment and quality controls necessary for reliable products from the start of production to the last unit produced.

2. Dependability

Dependability goes hand-in-hand with predictability for your sensor supplier.

With a dependable vendor, you’re able to rest easier about performance concerns. Quality processes from early development through production of supplied parts will always be part of the assembly process. Working with a vendor whose components remain reliable throughout their useful life boosts your confidence in every vehicle that leaves your facility. 

In the process of developing new technology and applications, technical issues should be expected to occur.  A supplier who has systems engineering support and rigorous discipline in performing root cause analysis allows for a fast transition between an issue and resolution as well as a smooth transition to volume production.

3. Familiarity

Outsourcing any supplied part is a two-way street. The vendor should know almost as much about your vehicles as you do -- and care about their performance just as much. In a sense, a partner shouldn’t just be a supplier; it also should be a co-developer of sorts. 

When it comes time to develop a new application for a sensor technology -- e.g. customized electric car sensors -- there’s no time wasted explaining your company, your business processes or any special performance benchmarks your vehicles are held to. Your vendor understands your needs and is ready to get moving on manufacturing a sensor that helps keep your product development process and your vehicles running smoothly. 

4. Efficiency 

Supply chain management can be a nightmare, especially when you’re dealing with multiple vendors. Managing day-to-day relationships can feel like a full-time job. And even worse, a small issue in one link of your supply chain can translate to big -- and costly -- delays, as the auto industry has recently witnessed with the micro shortage.

An established and defined relationship with a sensor supplier saves you time and headache of:

  • Juggling more schedules than necessary
  • Tracking down a point-of-contact 
  • Worrying about staying within budget 
  • Meeting deadlines 

 

In short, a partnership with a  sensor manufacturer should run like a well-oiled machine. 

5. Cost Savings

A formal partnership with a single supplier often amounts to lower production costs, which translates to savings for you. 

Why? 

For suppliers, a guarantee of regular business -- especially large orders -- opens their doors to savings in two key areas: materials and labor

How?

Your vendor is able to scale their investment appropriately, purchase materials in bulk and level load their manufacturing process to optimize cost and control high yield processes.

In addition, concentrated buys also mean lower shipping costs. The same economics of purchasing the materials in bulk apply to packaging your order. It’s also more economical to ship one large order than it is for several smaller orders -- think of it as the difference between 40 people taking a bus together vs. driving separately.  

Moreover, a partner supplier who sees the relationship as more than transactional, wherein both OEM and supplier view the relationship as profitable, is more likely to provide critical thinking input to making your product and process as cost-efficient as possible.  The more the supplier values the relationship with you, the more likely they are to bring their best ideas forward and support efforts to control costs together.

Making EV Sensor Manufacturing Partnerships That Matter

When selecting vendors for the initial production of the Model T, Henry Ford didn’t choose partners that were impediments. He selected those that made good on their promises. (Many still work with Ford to this day.) 

Just like Ford’s partnership with its ammeter maker, your relationship with an electric vehicle sensor manufacturer should run like a well-oiled machine

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