Automotive Advertising Agencies And Technology Vendors Consolidate Along With The Auto Industry

The consolidation of the auto industry has forced automotive advertising agencies to take on new areas of responsibility that include integrating sales processes on the virtual showrooms being built on the Internet Super Highway with real world brick and mortar facilities. The internet has sparked new vendor applications and technologies that have forever changed the role of automotive advertising agencies who are challenged to match the message on the street with the message on both the real and virtual showroom floor. Technology has always determined the media used to deliver a targeted marketing message with human nature shaping the messages and methods to deliver it. The Internet and the impact that online social media is having on the shopping and buying habits of consumers is being reflected in the emerging technologies and applications focused on providing efficiencies and short term R.O.I. analytics for advertisers.It is no longer enough for automotive advertising agencies to simply drive customers to their auto dealer client’s websites and/or showrooms. Until and unless their efforts can be sourced to specific vehicle sales and/or repair orders they have not earned their agency fees. Fortunately, new vendor applications have been developed to handle the warp speeds that customers are travelling on the Internet Super Highway. These integrated solutions are being consolidated into comprehensive platforms built on best in class applications that follow customers all the way to the showroom floor and/or the service drive — and beyond with after sales follow up to improve customer satisfaction and retention.Technology vendors that provide specialized applications for the auto industry have been consolidating their products and services to improve selling processes by linking new and pre-owned vehicle sales with fixed operations. Efficiencies in processing customer contacts through integrated ILM and CRM systems tied to in store desking applications and DMS platforms allow automotive advertising agencies to manage and monitor customer contacts with a verifiable R.O.I.. This kind of R.O.I. analysis was not possible when sales and service functions were handled by individual vendor solutions that did not communicate efficiently with each other.The consolidation in the automotive advertising technology sector has been evidenced by the increased market penetration by extensive product suites such as those offered by the ever expanding group of individual vendors that comprise Dominion. The recent acquisitions of Kelley Blue Book and vAuto by Auto Trader represent a recent consolidation of best in class vendor solutions to expand their iconic marketing platform. These complimentary products and services further differentiate Auto Trader from the competition and provide a more comprehensive product suite for the auto dealers that they serve. Similarly, individual vendors have extended their product suites to include applications that compliment their initial offerings such as the expanded marketing services being offered by Higher Gear to extend their CRM application and state of the art mobile applications recently added to eCarlist to compliment their inventory management/marketing platform.These examples of best in class products and services offered by auto industry focused vendors integrated into platform solutions link vehicles sales and fixed operations to improve efficiencies and provide more comprehensive R.O.I. analytics. Auto dealers and automotive advertising agencies that have survived the consolidation in the retail auto industry have turned to these technology providers to leverage their limited resources.The future for auto dealers and automotive advertising agencies clinging to old school business practices without embracing the internet, social media and technologies to maximize the efficiencies that they represent is bleak. Similarly, vendors serving the auto industry must expand their products and services beyond their initial core products to provide complimentary and integrated solutions or they will swept aside by platform solutions that address their auto dealer clients needs in a more comprehensive manner.

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  • The Future of Manufacturing Education

    What is CAD/CAM Software?Computer Aided Design. In reference to software, it is the means of designing and creating geometry and models that can be used in the process of product manufacturing. Computer Aided Manufacturing. In reference to software, it is the means of processing a designed part model, creating machine toolpath for its various components and creating an NC program that is then sent to a CNC Machine tool to be made.The purpose of CAD-CAM is to automate CNC programming and allow innovators, designers and cnc businesses to manufacture products, bringing them to market faster and more profitably than ever before. It is the concept of producing goods faster and for less.Manufacturers of The FutureIn 2013 and beyond, thousands of students in North America alone are currently planning to enter careers in Manufacturing. From Advanced Mechanical Design, Fabrication, Aerospace Engineering and Aircraft Manufacturing to Industrial Engineering, Automotive and CNC Machining, these students will be the future of Manufacturing moving forward. They will be the innovators, the creators and architects that will design and make all of the products we use on a daily basis. As design and manufacturing technology advances, so does the look and usability of the products we buy and use. Costs are driven down and the speed in which products are brought to market increases. This means that we can buy products from dishwashers to cell phones cheaper while enjoying a broader selection to choose from.While software providers are constantly moving forward in the development of CAD/CAM software, adding new automation and making it more intuitive than the last software revisions, you will agree that there needs to be a swiftly moving system of keeping these students on par with the cutting edge of CNC automation. Thus ensuring their survival once they land in shops and manufacturing businesses around the world.Here are some of the real-world challenges that educators and schools face when including manufacturing CAD/CAM technology in their curriculums.Focused Manufacturing CurriculumsA common challenge for CAD/CAM in Education has to do with the type of applications or even industries being taught along with the curriculum segments revolving around software as it relates to that specific industry or application. In 2008 a panel of manufacturing and business professionals were interviewed by O & P.com, an online resource for Orthotics and Prosthetics companies. The interviews focused on CAD/CAM software in education and the results were surprising. These business professionals really felt that there was a serious lack of professional training available in the area of CAD design and CAM machining technology.Some of them had even gone so far as to provide seminars on the subject at schools and universities in an effort to get educators more involved in the subject so that there would be some support for the industry moving forward. It makes sense. Even now in 2013 there is no CAD/CAM software product that caters to the design and manufacturing of prosthetics as an example. The closest form of CAD/CAM for a specific application would be special dental prosthetic products that cater to the dental industry. But what about the rest? Software is used for CNC automation in just about every available type of application today without schools having to find custom-specific application type systems.The solution has to be available where CAD/CAM providers work directly with the educator, teacher or school to develop curriculums that deal with specific applications in order to tune down the product and be more application focused. While many CAD/CAM providers will help, education still suffers because of budgets and the high price of implementing software for such cases.Educational Budget CutsMany states are currently looking at budget cuts for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 that will drop higher education budgets below 2008/2009 levels. The dollar amount spent per student in 2013 is down by more than half in over 50% of the US. In fact, 26 states will spend less per student in fiscal year 2013 than the year before and 35 are still spending at levels lower than before the recession, after adjusting for inflation. The truth is, we are going nowhere fast when it comes to financially investing in the manufacturers of our future. The solution is for CAD/CAM providers to change the way they think when it comes to supplying education with cutting edge cnc machining software products. We have to be smarter and make technology software implementation easier for schools at all levels than ever before. Many providers offer educational discounts, yet the costs are still well out of range. Not only this but what about the student that graduates and enters the workforce? If the student was trained on a $15,000-$20,000 CNC Programming system, how are they going to take a seat with them to their new employer? CNC Software for milling, turning, routing, water jet, plasma or laser can cost a substantial amount of money. There must be a solution to make NC programming technology more accessible to graduating students.Keeping Curriculums FreshAnother challenge for educators focuses on existing curriculums having to be continuously updated and modified in order to keep them current with manufacturing technology as it is developed moving forward. Again, CAD/CAM providers must have programs in place which not only address educational implementation, but that allow educators to keep them updated on the fly. Ultimately, teachers need an abundant volume of resources available to them, preferably online and accessible by mobile devices. This includes tiered tutorials, corresponding and example CAD Part Files, videos, knowledge based support, help files, Machine Post Processors and all other product support and training resource that empowers the teacher. Educator support should also be a phone call away. Educators that have existing curriculums should be able to easily adapt what they have to include CAD/CAM. This way implementation is simple and saves a lot of time.The SolutionGoing into 2014 the manufacturing industry is experiencing more growth.  This means that the demand for CAD-CAM software will be higher.  As will the need for CNC programmers that understand and know how to machine with software.  This is exactly why a “Manufacturers of The Future” program is needed for education.  A program that supports schools, teachers and ultimately the students.  Thus, ensuring that these students will have the software they were educated on before they begin their new journey into the manufacturing workforce.Schools & TeachersA”Manufacturers of The Future” program is a solution for schools and teachers at all levels that prepares students for CNC manufacturing because it addresses the challenges that today’s schools and educators face when it comes to implementation, curriculums and plain old affordability when they are already working with tight budgets. A successful program for supporting education would include the following:
    Makes individual and multi-station lab licenses very affordable
    Access to 2, 3, 4 and 5 axis cad-cam cnc software
    Provides no-cost Technical Support and Training Solutions to teachers
    Regularly updates training material to add resources
    Provides cnc machine post processors
    Keeps educators informed and successful
    From access to online knowledge based cad-cam support portals to multi-level software tutorials, training video products and specialized one-on-one training, educators need this level of support.StudentsWith a Manufacturers of The Future “Work Ready” campaign, students receive the support they need in low cost professional cad-cam software versions so that they are ready and are more valuable as they start working in manufacturing.
    “Work Ready” allows graduating students their software at reduced costs
    Available multimedia training solutions that they can take with them
    Continued Education & Advanced Online Operator Certification
    These three items are critical for success. Students can achieve more in their professions with them. As a student or teacher there are solutions that exist to help teach and educate manufacturing students. A Manufacturers of The Future and a Work Ready type program created and provided by CAD-CAM vendors that get together to provide a dynamic multi-level support system that accommodates all levels of CAD/CAM products will be phenamenal. This would be the most productive and helpful method possible.  Who will step up and answer the call?  These are exciting times for education and the future of manufacturing.

    Differentiated Instruction

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