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C-Level conversations

Interview with
Lamborghini

Orchestrating the Perfect Day

For many companies, digitalization means standardization. But for Lamborghini, it’s all about product adaptation – finding a more efficient way to produce more customized cars. Lamborghini Chief Manufacturing Officer Ranieri Niccoli explains.

On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you rank Lamborghini’s current level of digitalization?

While we’ve always used technology, we really began digitizing in earnest starting in 2017, first in the leadup to the launch of the Urus, our Super SUV, and then, most recently, with the launch of the Revuelto, our new flagship vehicle.

In both cases, our digitalization process was a bit akin to trial by fire. For example, with the Urus, not only did we have to produce an all new, high- tech, highly customized luxury vehicle, we also had to more than double our production volumes – going from 4,000 vehicles a year to more than 9,000. This was quite the incentive to change and to fully leverage digitalization. As a result, I believe, at least compared to the automotive industry in general, we are quite advanced in terms of digitalization. If I had to rank us, I’d put us at a high seven.

For us, digitalization touches on the entire production process, from designing the car to delivering it to the customer.

Ranieri Niccoli,
Lamborghini Chief Manufacturing Officer

What does digitalization look like at Lamborghini?

For us, digitalization touches on the entire production process, from designing the car to delivering it to the customer. In this sense, digitalization, and all the various technologies and processes involved, follow the development of the car. Thus, before a new solution is introduced, we make sure it will advance the vehicle’s development. What we don’t do is introduce technology for technology’s sake.

How do you find the right technology?

This is an ongoing challenge for us. Take for example the development of the Urus and the Revuelto. These are two new products that have never been done before. This makes it extremely difficult to define what you need. It also makes it difficult to find the right technology. Even if you know what you need, more often than not, the right solution does not exist. I guess that’s one of the hazards of being a pioneer in digitizing an industry!

Is Lamborghini now ‘fully digitized’?

Digitalization is a never-ending journey, and we continue to refine our processes. As I mentioned, with the launch of the Revuelto, we further fine- tuned our digital production processes, adding, for example, the production of carbon fiber.

The challenge is that the more digitally advanced you become, the more difficult – and costly – it is to take the next step. When you first start, digitalization happens in leaps and bounds, often delivering big results. But the further you go down this road, the smaller the changes, the more minut the benefits – with each step requiring much more time and investment.

Is there an example of a technology that you’re working to integrate into your processes?

We are currently taking a deep dive into virtual reality. We feel this technology is mature enough that we can explore where its use could potentially benefit our processes. We’re already using VR goggles in our carbon fiber production, with workers using the technology to precisely add glue and stickers to the carbon fiber chassis.

What about artificial intelligence?

While I believe AI has great potential, it’s not yet mature enough for our needs. We need to first understand the technology before we can understand how to best use it. With AI, we’re just not there yet.

Where I think AI will be a real game changer is with data management. Our digitalization process produces tones – giga terra – of data every second. But we don’t have the ability to use this data, which is an absolute waste.

I believe AI will provide us with the tools we need to process – and act – on our data.

What is the ultimate goal of your digitalization journey?

Whereas most companies draw a direct line from digitalization to standardization, for Lamborghini, it’s all about building flexibility, agility, and customization into our production processes. Our customers don’t want a car, they want to have their car. They want a Lamborghini that nobody else has. So, even as we look to increase volume, we must do so without losing our ability to customize, which puts incredible pressure on our production process.

For us, digitalization is the answer to maintaining this balance. By digitizing, we aim to essentially put customization on autopilot.

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