Volta Truck's Electrifying Comeback to EV Business

Volta Truck's Electrifying Comeback to EV Business

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In this episode of the Auto Supply Chain Prophets podcast, hosts Jan Griffiths and Terry Onica welcome Shiv Tailor, the VP of Enterprise Technology for Volta Trucks, to discuss the challenging journey of a startup in the electric vehicle (EV) industry and Volta Trucks' comeback to the EV business.

Shiv brings exciting news that Volta Trucks is back in action and is preparing to launch its electric commercial vehicles in Europe by the end of this year. Reflecting on Volta's journey, Shiv emphasizes the lessons learned. He stresses the importance of focusing on customer needs and the business's core value proposition.

Shiv advises startups entering mass production to pay attention to detail, from supply base maturity to financial planning. He also points out the significance of optimizing processes, nurturing strong relationships with partners, and prioritizing workforce well-being for operational success.

Shiv highlights the importance of QAD's comprehensive training course based on 24 essential supply chain processes, which helped them align their team's understanding of the supply chain and automotive best practices.

Sharing his perspective on quality management, Shiv advocates partnership-driven relationships with suppliers and shares Volta's proactive approach to ensure product quality and reliability.

Shiv explores the critical role of IT and data strategies in managing supplier collaborations and enhancing operational efficiency. They discuss the significance of technology in fostering transparency, streamlining processes, and driving innovation, with Shiv sharing insights on Volta's approach to leveraging emerging technologies like Gen AI.

The episode ends with Shiv's advice for EV startups and pioneers, urging them to focus on what truly matters for the business's success.

Themes discussed in this episode:

  • The challenges startups face in starting a business in the EV sector
  • Focusing and aligning with customer needs to drive success in the automotive industry
  • Lessons learned from Volta Trucks' revival, emphasizing the value of streamlining operations and identifying core value propositions
  • The complexities of mass production, including the need for robust supply chain maturity, adequate capital, and efficient processes
  • The critical role of relationships and collaboration with suppliers in ensuring successful production outcomes
  • Collaborating to develop quality standards and ensuring quality in production
  • The significance of technology and data strategies in managing supplier collaborations and enhancing operational efficiency
  • The potential of emerging technologies like AI to drive innovation and improve customer experience

Featured on this episode: 

Name: Shiv Tailor

Title: VP Enterprise Technology at Volta Trucks

About: Shiv Tailor, VP of Enterprise Technology at Volta Trucks, drives digital transformation and agile strategies for the company's mission to enhance urban sustainability with fully electric trucks. With a decade of automotive industry experience, Shiv's expertise spans telecommunications, electronic engineering, project governance, program delivery, and lean manufacturing. Under his leadership, Volta Trucks has swiftly implemented Salesforce, ERP, and PLM systems, facilitating the successful launch of nine products across various platforms.

Connect: LinkedIn

Mentioned in this episode:

Episode Highlights:

[01:59] Volta is back: Hear Shiv's exciting announcement about Volta Trucks' bounce back from bankruptcy to resume EV business.

[02:48] Lessons learned: Shiv reflects on lessons learned from Volta's journey, emphasizing the importance of focusing on customer needs.

[04:27] Mass Production: Shiv's advice for other startups undergoing mass production.

[06:52] Tech advantage: A discussion on the importance of information and technology in a company's ramp-up for production.

[09:37] Supplier Experience: Shiv discusses the significance of prioritizing supplier relationships and fostering a positive supplier experience.

[13:26] Best practices: Learn about the training course that helped Volta collaborate to align their teams with automotive best practices.

[15:43] Quality first: Learn how Shiv prioritizes quality in manufacturing processes by fostering strong partnerships with suppliers.

[19:44] Generative AI: Explore the potential applications of generative AI in revolutionizing supply chain operations and enhancing customer experiences.

[21:23] Shiv’s advice: Shiv shares practical advice for startups navigating the challenges of the EV industry.

Top Quotes:

[03:13] Shiv: “One of my lessons learned, especially on the technology side, is to really focus on what the end customer and the end user want. So, drive your activities based on what they want. We're focused, but were we focused on the right areas? And that's something that we're addressing with what we call Volta Version Two, but I think that's probably what went wrong.”

[04:44] Shiv: “We've all been in the automotive industry; we know it. Launching a product that's been designed from scratch in what was going to be two and a half years is a monumental effort. Never underestimate the number of loops and cycles that you need from the supply base in terms of the maturity of tooling, the maturity of parts, and the maturity of the product before it even kind of enters the customer’s hands. And never underestimate the amount of capital that's needed.”

[11:51] Shiv: “What we're trying to do in Volta version 2 is have supplier communities, whether it be indirect or direct. Create a community of suppliers that can ask each other questions. If they're having difficulties or whatever it might be, it's definitely on our roadmap for Q3, Q4, is that kind of creation of that supplier community kind of forum where people can ask us questions or ask other suppliers questions that are contracted and NDAs, etc.”

[19:59] Shiv: “There's so many use cases within automotive that you could apply Gen AI to.  What I haven't seen yet is a cohesive strategy of how someone is going to execute from an OEM perspective, Gen AI in supply chain quality, product development, etc., across the whole platform, but also how it matters to our customers. I'm worried about end users. How can AI help our customers? How can it help fleet managers? How can it help, ultimately, these logistics companies deliver quicker? Even if it's one more parcel drop a day, that's a huge revenue impact for them as they scale up their fleet.”

[22:16] Shiv: “Focus on what actually is valuable for the business. It's as simple as that. Just focus on what's valuable for the business.”


Delivering on the Promise of Delivery: Automotive Sustainability and Profitability

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White Paper for Leveraging Risk Management in Automotive

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Operational Restart Readiness

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The 24 Essential Supply Chain

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Keep in touch with Auto Supply Chain Prophet's co-hosts Terry Onica and Jan Griffiths on LinkedIn.


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