Volkswagen has brought on board Amazon to combine all of its data from machines, plants and systems from its facilities onto a remotely-accessed cloud platform to optimise production and eliminate supply bottlenecks.
The carmaker said the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud platform would enhance processes and allow for considerable productivity improvements at the plants by automating all of the company's automobile manufacturing and logistics processes.
In the long term, the global supply chain could be integrated, and the industrial cloud could become an open industry platform for use by partners from industry, logistics and sales, said Volkswagen.
Volkswagen hopes the platform will lead to the seamless digitalisation of its production and logistics. It will also lead to IT at the production level of machinery, equipment and systems – for example for production planning and inventory management – becoming standardised and networked across all 122 production plants of the Volkswagen Group. Adding the supply chain would bring in more than 1,500 suppliers and partner companies from over 30,000 locations.
Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS) said: “Volkswagen's and AWS's collaboration will have a profound impact on efficiency and quality in production throughout Volkswagen’s global supply chain, as Volkswagen gains access to the broadest and deepest cloud with the most functionality, the most innovation, the highest performance and security, and the largest community of partners and customers of any other infrastructure provider.”
Currently there are differences between individual plants.
Oliver Blume, chair of Porsche and VW board member responsible for production said: “With our global industry platform we want to create a growing industrial ecosystem with transparency and efficiency bringing benefits to all concerned.”
The AWS portfolio of services selected by VW, which includes IoT, machine learning analytics and computer services, was developed for a production environment and will be extended to the requirements of the automotive industry.
The carmaker believes the cloud-based platform with its simplified data exchange will enable the company to provide new technologies and innovations rapidly across various locations.
Such innovations could include smart robotics, and data analysis functions to analyse and check shopfloor processes from plant to plant, said VW.
AWS has been a mainstay of Amazon's growth over the past several years with revenue from the cloud segment growing 47% year over year in 2018. It accounted for 11% of Amazon's total revenue for the year and the deal with Volkswagen could lead to similar deals in manufacturing.
“With the cloud-based platform, new applications, for example in IT-security for shopfloor systems, can be scaled up direct to all locations throughout the world. Volkswagen will leverage AWS innovation best practices to become more agile and react faster on industry trends,” said Volkswagen in a statement.