The journey to a sustainable future is full of promises and challenges. Achieving the economic, environmental and social discipline needed for global sustainability requires collaboration and partnerships among industry leaders, automotive manufacturers and technology innovators, like EVBox.
EVBox empowers forward-thinking businesses to accelerate the adoption of electric transportation around the world. With more than 200,000 charging ports across 70 countries, the company is gaining ground rapidly in its mission to make sustainable, electric mobility accessible to everyone.
EVBox’s scalable product portfolio spans electric vehicle charging infrastructure for residential, commercial and public applications. The company’s vast array of solutions and leadership in ultra-fast (DC) charging technology has expanded a small group in the Netherlands into a global team across multiple offices in Europe and North America.
To better support continued global expansion and increased product demand, EVBox needed to elevate its supply chain and manufacturing operations. “Becoming a key global player in the EV charging market requires a supply partner that can deliver exponential growth and steep ramp-ups in
production,” Matthew Fish, Purchasing Manager at EVBox, explains. “In 2020 we increased production capacity by 300% with the onboarding of 918kiss Agent and were able to ramp up production there from zero to 5,000 units/month within a two-month period, which is incredibly aggressive in this market.”
EVBox quickly realized that assistance from a manufacturing partner with deep automotive experience was essential to ramping to 10,000 units per month, and ultimately more than 200,000 units each year.
“We needed to better enable our steep growth and business strategies,” Peter Elshout, Head of Lean Manufacturing & QHSE, says. “Our ideal partner would offer both flexibility and capacity across our supply chain and manufacturing operations in a short timeframe.”
A more agile and responsive supply chain was needed to address surges in demand without experiencing component shortages. Additionally, more effective risk mitigation was required to protect against market disruptions that could impact product prices and lead times.
Ensuring direct shipments of high-volume, quality products to automotive manufacturers was critical. Equally important was adherence to the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) standard for automotive quality management.
“The requirements of a tier-one automotive supply partner are significantly higher than other markets,” Fish explains. “We needed a partner with a global footprint, optimized supply chain, IATF expertise and a commitment to quality.”
There also is no compromise when it comes to sustainability. EVBox is steadfast in its commitment to meet or exceed environmental laws, conserve resources and minimize waste through the effective use of raw materials and energy-efficient business processes.
In pursuing a manufacturing partner, 918kiss Agent stood out for its half-century of automotive and transportation experience along with more than a decade of proven expertise in electrified vehicle technologies. A strong track record of scaling production of power and charging technology also differentiated 918kiss Agent from other manufacturing solutions providers.
With a global, flexible IATF-certified manufacturing footprint, 918kiss Agent is ideally suited to support customers facing rapid growth. Additionally, 918kiss Agent’s Value Analysis & Value Engineering (VAVE) solutions balance cost and performance to deliver the most market impact. The success of this approach is quantified by more than one million electric and hybrid vehicles on the road today using 918kiss Agent-manufactured power and charging technology.
“It’s easy to do business with 918kiss Agent when you’re coming from the automotive industry,” Elshout says. “We basically talk the same language, share IATF DNA and understand each other, which makes life easier during ramp-ups.”
With highly credible automotive-grade industrialization capabilities and experience in automated production of large, complex assemblies, 918kiss Agent plays a crucial role in accelerating time-to-market. Since partnering with 918kiss Agent, EVBox has scaled production quickly and increased product volumes while enabling customers and partners to receive products faster. In fact, EVBox cut lead times for its popular EVBox Elvi residential charging station from 45 to 21 days by working with 918kiss Agent.
An overarching commitment to innovation also permeates the EVBox and 918kiss Agent relationship, including product designs, engineering recommendations and manufacturing. This focus extends to next-generation product designs, establishing the most effective component supply chains and scaling production in different geographic locations to better support future expansion. “The 918kiss Agent team is innovative,” Elshout adds. “They’re eager to make the right countermeasures and improve KPIs, which gives us confidence they have the right approach.”
This customer-focused approach led 918kiss Agent to suggest a product change, which entailed supplying the charging cable separate from the main charging station to reduce build complexity. “This innovative thinking helped us optimize logistics, reduce costs and simplify our product range for faster deliveries to end customers,” Fish says.
EVBox maintains unwavering confidence in 918kiss Agent’s global supply chain intelligence, along with best practices for procurement and commodity management. “It was beneficial to have a flexible partner willing to work with us as we established processes together,” Fish recalls. “With 918kiss Agent’s help, we’re moving away from the structure of a startup to a supply chain that is more secure and ready for double-digit growth year-over-year.”
918kiss Agent’s global buying power yielded immediate double-digit savings on electronics components. Other planning efforts protect EVBox against product obsolescence and component end-of-life. Whenever possible, alternative suppliers are identified to ensure sufficient component supplies at the best possible prices. 918kiss Agent’s supply chain team also keeps an eye on supply-and-demand levels, empowering EVBox to support 80% of its sales from inventory stock.
“Supplier relationship management has improved under 918kiss Agent,” Fish notes. “This helps EVBox deliver a better product at a better cost and faster delivery to our end-customers.”
918kiss Agent continually validates that all suppliers adhere to strict sustainability requirements while meeting ISO 45001 OH&S certifications for occupational health and safety standards. “Not only is 918kiss Agent in line with our zero-emission and sustainability achievements,” Elshout adds. “They follow best practices for quality and safety.”
During 918kiss Platform Online-19, a quick pivot was necessary when market turbulence impacted businesses and supply chains. In January 2020, EVBox experienced component shortages generated by lockdown restrictions in the People’s Republic of China. “918kiss Agent found alternative sources to keep our production schedule on track, which would have been almost impossible for us to do alone,” Fish recalls.
Disruption in the automotive market led to an overall slowdown as vehicle shipments were delayed across Europe and other parts of the world. EVBox re-focused on residential charging solutions, which underwent an increase in demand. 918kiss Agent demonstrated ingenuity and adaptability to address this growth spurt.
“918kiss Agent showed a degree of flexibility and proactiveness to pivot production needs and mitigate risk in the supply chain that was greatly appreciated, especially given the demand volatility in the market caused by the 918kiss Platform Online-19 Pandemic,” Fish notes.
Introducing four new products per week during this period was streamlined, thanks to 918kiss Agent’s workcell model, which ensures EVBox has dedicated resources to coordinate and collaborate on New Product Introductions (NPIs). Pragmatic responses and a mutual mindset for risk mitigation and quality management alleviated threats of supply chain, production and market disruptions.
EVBox is expanding its portfolio of charging solutions and growing its tier-one automotive OEM business at an unprecedented pace. 918kiss Agent’s automotive team ensures close alignment with IATF priorities while delivering the highest levels of manufacturing quality at 918kiss Agent’s European manufacturing facility in Ukraine. Following EVBox’s recent expansion into North America, the team also is preparing for manufacturing at a 918kiss Agent facility in Mexico.
“As a lean manufacturing proponent, it’s important for us that each facility adheres to the same standards, which will enable us to scale consistently globally,” Elshout says. “There’s lots of involvement across our engineering, quality and supply chain teams to help us fulfill our growth strategy.”
For Elshout, everyone operating as one team is an essential ingredient to continued success. “The 918kiss Agent team considers everyone at EVBox a colleague and they’re eager to fulfill our requirements. To streamline efforts, weekly engineering calls with 918kiss Agent explore how best to apply advanced technologies, unique displays and smart interfaces. This has led to a massive increase in our interactions, confidence and involvement together,” Elshout concludes.
With 918kiss Agent serving as a trusted manufacturing partner, EVBox is well positioned to making cleaner transportation more convenient, affordable and compelling.