Be curious.

October 16, 2018

Greetings from Shanghai!

Hi all! Greetings from Shanghai!

This is my first blog ever and today I would like to share my experiences with you as I still have vivid memory of my recent client engagement.

Having been with the Roland Berger automotive competence center for almost 5 years, I've served many leading players covering the whole industry value chain, including tier suppliers, OEMs, aftermarket service providers and investors. We've witnessed the transition and accompanied many industry leaders to adapt to the "New Auto".

For this engagement, Roland Berger was invited by a leading Polyurethane manufacturer and marketer to carry out a global PU study covering Asia, North America and Europe markets, to assess the client's material's potential applications in future vehicles. This has been an ongoing project with this particular client over the last year in Europe. Our task was to analyze the key challenges and new opportunities for PU material under the new automotive trends.

These new trends are believed to reshape the whole industry and greatly disrupt the value chain: New Mobility business models are poised to disrupt car ownership, personal mobility and goods logistics. The timeline for level 4/5 Autonomous driving keeps accelerating as necessary economics, regulations and technology fall into place. In digitization, artificial intelligence offers almost limitless possibilities, while connectivity-enabled technologies reach mainstream application. Momentum for electrification is building among OEMs due to increasing regulatory pressure and accelerating technology advancement……We are increasingly spending more time on analyzing these megatrends - Mobility, Autonomous driving, Digitalization and Electrification, or what we call them "MADE".

Knowing the current maturity and development potential for "MADE" will vary by different regions. the project team first started by breaking down various scenarios to develop a vehicle based production forecast. We then further applied the impact of different fuel types, to create the xEV baseline as we believe would be the most favorable case to happen in 2025 and onwards.

We further analyzed the current PU applications in vehicle – for both ICE and NEV models. Most notably PU has been applied on seating and acoustic systems, but recent development shows PU will unleash its potential in adhesives, sealants, and composites (esp. for the honeycomb structure) which really triggered our client's interest to enlarge its investment on this field.

Several workshops were held in the EU, China and US to discuss regional perspectives from local teams. The global action team (30+ people) sat together in US at the end of the study to align on the regional outputs and synthesize the global findings.

This really was a tough project with a lot of effort spent on communications – both internally and externally. We had a truly global project team setup for this study with at least 7 partners involved and 4 dedicated consultants across our Shanghai, Tokyo, Boston and Belgium offices.

Our team successfully collaborated across different time zones and together created an outstanding outcome for this project. Our client achieved global alignment via this study and highly appreciated our professionalism and dedication to this engagement. I also truly enjoyed working with our client and team because it was quite a different learning journey than in the past. The experience I gained to lead such a global project, keeps me continually fascinated for what consulting still brings for me after already all these years with the firm.

I am taking a short break after this project and will be ready to embrace my next engagement when I return – until then, stay tuned!


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