Digitalization, autonomous driving and e-mobility will fundamentally transform not only the automobile but also vehicle production. New technologies and trends open up new horizons; everything will become more digital and more intensively networked. Within the Volkswagen Group, the production organization is making a concerted effort to prepare for these challenges. On the basis of the Group production strategy, brands and plants are jointly preparing for transformation and forging ahead with know-how and innovation transfer within the Group. One example is the annual meeting of the Group Digital Factory team with more than 400 experts exchanging information and views on innovations for digital production planning.

Dr. Holger Heyn, Head of Future Technologies with Volkswagen Group Production, says: "We want to intelligently network people, brands and machines within the Volkswagen Group with a view to shaping the production of the future together." The path to be taken is defined by the four cornerstones of the Group production strategy: future-oriented working structures, higher efficiency, intelligent processes and a versatile production network.

"Digitalization and innovative technologies will play an especially important role as they offer considerable potential for greater efficiency, networking and sustainability," Dr. Heyn explains. Group Production will pool the power and potential of the brands and exploit the resulting synergies to improve the competitiveness and future viability of the entire Group.

An example of cross-brand cooperation on digitalization is the Group Digital Factory team. Experts from different brands and all production sites are represented on the working group and work together towards new digital solutions for factory planning. During the two-day meeting of the Digital Factory team held on June 27/28, experts from ten brands and 18 countries presented the latest results to their colleagues in the fields of planning, production, IT, development, QA, procurement and human resources.

Frank Jelich, Head of the Group Digital Factory team, says: "Digital solutions for the planning of a new factory or a new production line have been a key topic for us for some time. At our 18th Group Digital Factory Conference, we were mainly dealing with even more intensive networking of processes and the use of the latest innovations for our employees. We will benefit from close cooperation between the best experts from throughout the Group."

In line with the principles of "TOGETHER – Strategy 2025", the Group Conference will not only be concerned with cooperation across the boundaries of brands, departments and plants but also across the boundaries of the Group itself. In a Startup Challenge in cooperation with Siemens PLM, six startups had 24 hours to work on three specific cases from current digitalization projects. Frank Jelich, co-initiator of the Startup Challenge says: "For the Startup Challenge, we have brought young creative companies together with experts from Siemens and Volkswagen. An especially successful feature was the combination of the innovative power of startups with the technical expertise of Siemens PLM Software. This will help us considerably in integrating the solutions of a small company in a global group."