Need of project management software in automotive OEM industry

July 5, 2021


The automotive industry is set for a transformation as millions of electric vehicles hit the roads in the next decade. Additionally, automobiles are embracing software technologies with open arms. The implications of these shifts for automotive OEMs are expected to be phenomenal. The marketplace is ripe for enterprises that are ready to seize the opportunities while the industry is set for a major overhaul. The strategy is clear; the premium is on execution. The rigor of project management in the automotive industry was never so urgent. Automotive OEMs must look at a comprehensive solution to manage their portfolios, programs, and projects.

Business challenges of automotive OEMs

Selecting new product ideas.

Project management in the automotive industry begins with evaluation and selection of new product ideas.

To gain the first-mover advantage, automotive OEMs must launch the right products swiftly and stay ahead of the competition. They need to drive their teams to come up with new ideas. However, enthusiasm must not be at the cost of meticulousness. Business leaders of automotive OEMs must ensure new product idea evaluation is comprehensive and covers the broad spectrum of parameters including commercial, technical, manufacturing feasibility, and benchmarking. An inept decision could lead to pursuit of wrong products. Instead of adopting an appropriate project management software that supports new idea evaluation, most organizations continue to rely on Spreadsheets and Emails for complex and multidimensional decision-making.

Pressure to shorten NPD cycles.

Project management in the automotive industry must deliver new products to the market – at a brisk pace.

Living in a hyper-competitive world, every day is critical when new products are to be launched. Automotive OEMs must be on the lookout for ways reduce the new product development (NPD) cycle. Despite this awareness, automotive OEMs rely on emails, spreadsheets, or phone for tracking the progress of project activities that accentuate delays. Rework, a reactive approach, lack of visibility and control only make it worse.

Business leaders must look to digitize the NPD cycle and the associated processes, workflows, and decision-nodes. A digitized NPD process brings transparency into the project work, progress, and delays, and allows managers to trigger escalations sooner than later. Further, digitalization eliminates non-value adding work – all leading to faster NPD cycles. The adoption of project management enabled by best-in-class project management software is essential.

Tracking Moulds and Tool Development.

Project management in the automotive industry becomes complicated as organizations need critical moulds, tools, jigs, fixtures, etc.

Automotive OEMs depend a lot on external vendors for moulds, tools, etc., for their NPD projects. However, moulds, tools, jigs, and fixtures are long-lead items and could potentially derail an NPD project. Despite being an important link, the procurement of moulds and tools are generally managed via a disconnected procurement process from design to Purchase Order – leading to avoidable long duration.

Automotive OEM decision-makers must ensure to integrate NPD project management with procurement in a seamless manner. For this to happen, the chosen project management software must have capabilities for procurement related activities such as purchase requests, vendor quote comparison, purchase order creation, procurement activities as part of project schedule, tracking orders, and connecting with payments.

Prioritizing Projects.

Project management in the automotive industry involves swift prioritization and re-prioritization based on organizational and market conditions. Technological advancements are expected to push the automotive OEM business into a new phase with higher levels of uncertainties and mid-way requirement changes. When leaders undertake critical projects and programs, they must expect multiple and dynamic business demands that lead to changed priorities. In a large organization, it is usually challenging to communicate such changes to cross-functional teams and expect them to adapt swiftly. Organizational weaknesses could impact automotive OEMs in twin ways – top line as well bottom line.

A top-class project management software drives internal resilience for automotive OEM enterprises by:

  • Allowing managers review projects in the light of external factors.
  • Defining parameters to evaluate project priorities.
  • Recommend strategies and tactics to deal with changed priorities.
  • Swiftly communicate to project teams on action plans.

Collaboration across functions.

Project management in the automotive industry hinges on continuous collaboration by all cross-functional stakeholders and external vendors.

For automotive OEMs working on NPD projects and programs, collaboration is equivalent of ‘dopamine.’ It must be reiterated that multiple teams contribute to the final product for OEM businesses. Getting cross-functional teams to meaningfully collaborate and ‘shake hands’ is painful. Additionally, information sharing happens via emails and phone conversations. All these lead to avoidable rework and delays – overall, lost productivity and market opportunities!

Automotive OEM leaders must fire-up the collaboration across the organization in a seamless manner. For this to happen, decision-makers must look to project management software with built-in capabilities akin to social collaboration platforms.

Master Data Management.

Project management in the automotive industry must deal with diverse and complex data covering specifications, drawings, and documentation. Further, these documentations undergo numerous revisions before the product is ready. In most organizations, master data is managed in isolation and disconnected from project management. Common sense tells us managing master data in a disjointed manner is fraught with risks of data integrity, ownership, and misinterpretations – leading to faulty product design.

It is imperative that automotive OEMs must consider the criticality of managing master data while adopting any project management software. Very few project management software are designed to handle the complexity of automotive master data complexity.

Impact of sub-standard Project Management Software for Automotive OEMs

  •  Evaluating, approving, and funding inappropriate NPD ideas.
  •  Questionable NPD data integrity.
  •  Delayed and ineffective decision-making.
  •  Lost market opportunities.

Project Management Software for Automotive OEMs

With so many commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) and claiming to be the best project management software available, how should leaders go about understanding, evaluating, and finally selecting the appropriate one for automotive OEM business?

The below-mentioned pointers are a good starting point.

  •  Designed for “your” industry, project type, project approach, methodology, and business processes.
  •  An end-to-end solution that addresses all the dimensions of NPD project management – from idea capture to product launch/delivery.
  •  Seamless integration with other enterprise applications.
  •  Must completely digitize your NPD project management landscape.

Business impact of a top-class automotive OEM Project Management Software

  •  Digitized OEM NPD project management cycle.
  •  Strategic project funding decisions.
  •  Seamless collaboration.
  •  One version of OEM NPD truth.
  •  Improved governance.
  •  Faster product launch.
  •  Better financial performance.

TouchBase is created with the strategic design principles of high configurability and holistic solution and is backed by capabilities to suit the requirements of the automotive OEM business.

Shivani Kumar


This article is provided by Shivani Kumar, Head of Marketing and Director at Kytes, formerly known as ProductDossier. Kytes is a company renowned for its flagship product, Kytes PSA Software - an Integrated Project Management Software solution. Kytes PSA assists customers in achieving Business Automation and Excellence.