JLR has teamed with Tata Communications, their partners under the Tata Sons umbrella, to define their corporate-wide IT infrastructure. All of JLR's 128 global sites will be linked together, with a new and more robust digital system that should reduce supply chain issues and increase build quality.
In the wake of the supply chain crisis of the past few years, automakers are all looking to build a more robust network, communicating with their suppliers better. On the production side, there's also a greater ability to identify issues on the assembly line as production goes along, which leads to the new trend from JLR of recalling specific VINs with known issues, instead of recalling wider ranges of vehicles to check for issues.
The next stage of that is identifying issues on the assembly line, and immediately broadcasting the issue to the correct locations across the network. It will also allow for AI implementation on the assembly line, which will help to further develop resilience and reduce quality issues. AI can help to predict issues while the line is running, allowing for in-the-moment adaptation.
The new technology suite will also allow JLR to shorten the time they need to change processes for more efficiency and adapt to production demands. Built as a SD-WAN system (Software Defined Wide Area Network), it's mostly built in the cloud, reducing on-site IT facility and overhead costs across the JLR network. Instead of connecting directly to a data center like in an older-style WAN setup, SD-WAN uses different connection methods (broadband, mobile, satellite) to connect to the cloud-based data hub. There's also a heavy focus on Software as a Service (SaaS, web-hosted applications like project management systems, Office 365 programs, and email) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS, cloud-based storage and data center infrastructure).
The whole setup will take until 2025 to implement globally. The long-term benefits will not be that apparent to the average Land Rover owner, but the changes in everything from their new vehicle being built, to analyzing and optimizing parts warehouses, will have a long impact on us.
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