VW builds industry-wide data exchange

27 April 2021 | David Young

The Volkswagen Group will be a founding member of the Catena-X Automotive Network

VW builds industry-wide data exchange

The union, which currently consists of 25 partners from the fields of business and science, is pursuing the goal of creating uniform standards for the flow of data and information in the automotive value chain. This should serve as the basis for a digital ecosystem in which automobile manufacturers and suppliers, dealer associations as well as technology suppliers can take part. Volkswagen expects the cross-company, secure and antitrust law compliant data exchange to result in new opportunities for increased efficiency and transparency for production and supply chains.

Gerd Walker, head of production and logistics at the Volkswagen Group, says: "Data is a key driver for Volkswagen on the path to becoming a sustainable digital company and can become even more important, if we share certain data across corporate boundaries. To tap into the full potential of a data network, we need uniform standards and common principles. With Catena-X, we are creating this valuable foundation to enhance our productivity through the secure and sovereign sharing of data and improve transparency along our supply chains."

Murat Aksel, member of the board of management of Volkswagen AG with responsibility for Purchasing, says: "Digitalisation and networking play a key role for the production and supply chains of the future. On the one hand, constantly connected data chains from the supplier to the manufacturer enable the flows of material to be organised more efficiently, meaning supply bottlenecks can be identified early on. On the other hand, digitalisation helps us to strengthen processes for observing environmental protection and human rights standards and to make supply chains even more transparent on these sensitive points."

Volkswagen will incorporate its years of experience gained from the networking of its global factory structure with the cloud into the development of the data infrastructure of Catena-X. Moreover, the Group will work on specific applications ranging from supply chain optimisation to business partner master data management.

In addition to Volkswagen, 24 other partners from various levels of the automotive value chain are involved in Catena-X, including BMW AG, Deutsche Telekom AG, Mercedes-Benz AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, SAP SE, Siemens AG and ZF Friedrichshafen AG. The industry network intends to form a registered association (eV).

Standards accelerate the scaling of software applications

The involvement in Catena-X is another step for Volkswagen toward promoting the networking of its global value chains with more than 40,000 suppliers and partner companies. The Group has been developing the Industrial Cloud together with AWS and Siemens since 2019. The Industrial Cloud enables partners to connect with the Volkswagen sites as well as provide industry applications within the open platform (app store approach). Standardised information and data availability play a decisive role in this. Therefore, when it comes to the Catena-X collaboration, Volkswagen also sees potential for synergies with respect to the expansion of its Industrial Cloud. This will facilitate the even faster development of software applications based on industry standards and the seamless scaling thereof across all the partners.

For several years now, Volkswagen has been committed to establishing uniform data standards within the automotive industry and beyond, including for example as a member of the International Data Spaces Association (IDSA) as well as of the European cloud data infrastructure GAIA-X. The principles of the IDSA and GAIA-X regarding data protection, data sovereignty and interoperability will also provide the foundation for Catena-X. This is aimed at ensuring each company has complete control regarding with whom and for what purpose it decides to share certain data.