OEM Manufacturing: 2021 in Review

Recent disruptions in supply chains during the pandemic, creating shortages of valuable assets like semiconductors, has highlighted several trends in OEM manufacturing. As we approach the new normal in 2022, here are four core concepts OEM manufacturers need to stay ahead of to remain competitive.

More Software in Vehicles

It is estimated that over four million fewer vehicles were produced in 2021 due to the semiconductor shortage, revealing the industry’s reliance on the computers and software embedded in the modern vehicle.

Features once considered a luxury, like adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking, are quickly becoming standard. Even low-end vehicles have nearly 100 microprocessor-based electronic control units networked throughout the body, generating 100 million lines of code.

By 2030, it is estimated that half the price of a new car will be attributed to semiconductor-based electronic systems. Trends like autonomous driving, connectivity, electrification, and connectivity will continue to push software capabilities to the forefront for suppliers and OEMs.

Green Future

Executives expect all-electric vehicles (EVs) to reach cost parity with internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEs) by 2030. The push to develop more eco-friendly vehicles has come from mounting pressure not just from governments but also consumers.

And it’s not just the vehicles themselves that are becoming greener but also the manufacturing process itself. The shift towards EVs is disrupting the traditional assembly production, replacing it with modular production methods where the vehicles stay in place while specialized technicians work on it at different stages of the process. This reduces the space, energy, and labour in the manufacturing process, making it more sustainable.


The pandemic has demonstrated how vulnerable global supply chains can be. Chains are only as strong as their weakest link, so the challenge becomes identifying where those weak links are. Blockchain, a digitally distributed, decentralized, public ledger, brings transparency and accuracy to end-to-end supply chain tracking. An immutable digitalized ledger can record all transactions, tracking assets from production to delivery.

Blockchain technology can also be used to protect autonomous cars from hackers and malware.

Additive Manufacturing

Also known as 3D printing, additive manufacturing (AM) is transforming industrial production by creating lighter and stronger parts and systems. Traditional manufacturing requires removing material through milling, machining, carving, shaping, and other means, while AM uses computer-aided-design (CAD) to add material, layer upon layer, in precise geometric shapes to create an object.

What used to take manufacturers months to create with complicated processes involving molds, jigs, and fixtures, often requiring the support of overseas tooling companies, can now be completed in days onsite and on demand.

AM is a cost-effective way for manufactures to troubleshoot new products and prototypes, making it a soon-to-be fixture in the automotive and aerospace industries.

Contact us at https://sheaglobal.com to find out how Microsoft solutions have integrated breakthrough technologies to drive manufacturing efficiencies and process improvements.