The automotive industry is a good example of a traditional industry that’s undergoing digital transformation.

Automakers must respond to numerous industry trends including the need to deliver higher mobility and more digital services in the car itself as well as demands by consumers for a connected car and autonomous driving. Carmakers need to adjust their products and services and the way each car is produced to meet these new industry realities.

Here are three ways automakers can innovate their production lines to bring about digital transformation:

Add more customization to the production process. Automakers and their business partners will build products with increased customization, which is forced by customer demand and supported by digitization, but also by new materials and joining technologies. These companies will develop and test new versatile production, investing in best practices such as Industry 4.0 research and its implementation. The ability to orchestrate their IT infrastructure, solutions and services will help the automotive industry support those challenges and opportunities.

Deploy cyber-physical systems to create a production line of the future.  Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) are integrations of computation, networking and physical processes. Embedded control modules (computers) and networks monitor and control the physical processes, creating feedback loops in which physical processes affect computations and vice versa. Major investments are being made worldwide to develop this technology. A CPS builds on the older discipline of embedded systems; control modules and software are embedded in devices whose principle mission is not computation, such as autos, toys, medical devices and scientific instruments. CPS strives to integrate the dynamics of the physical processes with those of the software and networking, providing abstractions and modeling, design, and analysis techniques for an integrated system. Think of CPS as the next step in the development of auto production. The same way engineering and operations worked to create the paperless factory, CPS will support the enhanced assembly of automobiles, as well as the lifecycle of the each individual component.

Use analytics to optimize manufacturing execution. Analytics tools will be available to analyze production data using local components on the shop floor and central IT. New solutions at the plant level ensure that data for production processes can be used even if real-time requirements have to be met for the time-critical interaction of robots, machines and production lines. Strategic use of this technology lets the production line work more seamlessly with engineering and finally sales, looking to ship cars to dealers.

Moving forward, automakers are on the verge of a new paradigm when it comes to producing their cars. By creating flexible plants that increase customization, integrating embedded systems and utilizing analytics to optimize production, automakers will build cars more efficiently that reflect the needs of today’s consumers.