Thursday, 26 November 2015

TPPA promises accessibility to wider automotive marts

It all began in 2005 when four countries, namely; Singapore, Chile, New Zealand and Brunei, that signed a trade agreement known as the “Trans Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP)”.
The agreement later attracted the industrial powerhouse such as Japan and the USA interests to enter the trade pack, and has grown to include the twelve participating countries to form the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
The negotiations that began in 2010 took five years to conclude in October 2015. TPPA thatACCOUNT for some 40 per cent of the global GDP may take at least two years to begin its implementation upon domestic approvals by various participating countries.
TPP aimed at enhancing market access opportunities for its member countries to improve their respective competitive advantage, and at the same time provides a platform to develop transparent rules and discipline that will create investor confidence in all member countries.
These in turns promote opportunities for skills and technology transfers between participating countries, which will result in enhancement of competitiveness in many aspects of trades and productions.
Analysts are of the opinion that the opportunities provided by the agreement with respect to trade liberalisation and removal of exports barriers would make it easier for companies within the participating countries to export their goods to other member countries.
Six out of the twelve TPP members are automotive producers with Total Industry Volume (TIV) more than 500 thousand cars per year, with USA and Japan being the biggest producers with annual TIV of about 12 million and 10 million respectively (Only passenger cars).

The US vehicles trade being the largest totaling above USD350 billion annually but facing trade deficit in the billions. Japan on the other hand is enjoying positive trade exceeding USD100 billion. The USA imports largely passenger vehicles and parts and components with annual value at about USD150 billion and USD60 billion respectively. Almost all of the automotive related TPP economies are growing positively inTERMS of their respective TIV for the past 5 years.
Malaysia’s main exports consist of parts and components primarily to Japan and the USA. However exports of parts and components to Japan had reduced by 16% from 2012 to 2014.Exports of Parts and components to the USA increased by 6% from 2012 to 2013 but reduced by 9% from 2013 to 2014.
The nation main automotive imports are passenger vehicles, parts and components and commercial vehicles primarily from Japan. However, in the last three years the import trends seem to be reducing in all the three vehicles segments. Used passengers vehicles seems to be the main import activities by the local vehicle importers.
The importation of passenger vehicles had reduced by 51% from 2012 to 2014. Similarly, the imports of Parts and components and commercial vehicles had reduced by 26% and 31% respectively from 2012 to 2014.
Availability of production volume is key to the survival of any the automotive manufacturing endeavours. Continuous pressure to liberalise the automotive home market has dwindled the sustainability of many of the local parts and components manufacturers as well as home grown automotive assemblers.
TPPA promises the removal of exports barriers would make it easier for Malaysian companies to export their goods to various member countries and thereby enhancing their respective production volume.
It is still too early to foretell the positive impact that TPPA would bring to the local automotive players but the above TIV statistics demonstrate the vast market potential for local automotive players to exploit through TPPA.
As the saying goes - The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Henceforth the local automotive players must now focus on enhancing their efficiency to ensure their competitiveness to participate in the forthcoming automotive production potentials and challenges.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Succession planning ensures long-term sustainability

Succession planning is a proactive process of identifying and developing subordinates at all levels for future managerial roles and leadership positions in an organisation. It is a critical and strategic component in any company management however the exercise is often neglected by even major corporations.
It is often perceived that succession planning is centred on identifying potential replacement of retiring or resigning top echelons in the company. Instead the process is a strategic management exercise to ensure a ready pool of employees adequately developed to take on higher positions and responsibilities at various company hierarchies when required.
More skewed perceptions are amongst many family owned small and medium enterprises where succession planning is understood as to choose among the heirs to inherit the leadership. Little consideration is given to the importance of assessing the heir’s ability to lead and to drive the company to greater height. Many companies that were once successful have failed upon the retirement of the founders and subsequently replaced by their respective family related successors.
One may want to look back at the history of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, who left behind one of the greatest religion on earth upon his demise, but did not nominate nor groom a leader as his successor. However, the Islamic faith has expanded to a vast area of the globe within a short period of time after the prophet departure.
Abu Bakar by virtue of him being the closest companion of the prophet was chosen as the first leader of the Islamic faith after Muhammad, reflecting successor selection by “popular votes”. Umar, the second caliph was nominated by Abu Bakar upon request by the early faithful brought about the concept of “predecessor selection” of a leader. Umar, on the other hand, insisted that his successor to be selected by a “consultative council” where Uthman was nominated as the third Caliph. However, Uthman was murdered and there was an uprising of a rebellion against him that has led to Ali to take over the leadership of the Islamic nation.
The above series of events of the early Islamic history demonstrated the modes of leadership selection. An individual rising to the highest post of the organisation should be the one well recognized and respected by the majority of employees. Abu Bakar was said to be calm and a wise personality well- liked by the Prophet himself during their early struggle of spreading Islam.
Umar was known to be a very aggressive person and spoke his mind on any issue and was selected by Abu Bakar to be the leader after him in view of rapid growth of Muslim population during his tenure demanding strong governing.
Umar has successfully instituted good governance during his tenure and as such the council has wisely chosen Uthman, a scholar in nature, to succeed Umar. It was during Uthman tenure that the Quran was put together into a book that existed today.
Peaceful period during Uthman’s tenure did not last long and Ali rose to the occasion upon Uthman’s murder to battle the uprising rebellion. Ali, known to be a fearless warrior and commanding personality was successful in suppressing the rebellion.
These historical precedents of the early Islamic tradition above taught the early Muslim to select leaders with personality and virtues to suit the situation at hand.
The four Caliphs may have different characters and personalities but suited well with their respective governing tenure. However they have common values that further strengthen their governing abilities. Among these values were; honesty, integrity, highly self-driven, strategic thinker and positive attitude. Their work approaches were always for the betterment of their subjects and subordinates and without self-interest. Succession development of company leaderships with the above prescribed values would ensure the company sustainability for a long term to come.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Deployment of electric mobility in Malaysia

Global warming phenomenon resulting in higher temperatures, rising sea level, severe flooding, droughts, stormy weathers are amongst catastrophes nowadays increasingly common everywhere.

Scientists have hypothesised that an increase by 2°C in the earth temperature from now on would result in severe melting of polar ice, which in turn would submerge land currently occupied by 280 million people worldwide. Whilst an increase of 4°C will result in land submersion covering an areas lived on by more than 600 million people.
Exhaust emission from our personal vehicles are one of the major cause of global warming. Cars and trucks collectively account for nearly one-fifth of all of the gaseous emission, emitting around 11 kilogram of carbon dioxide and other global warming gases for every gallon of petrol

It is estimated that each country contributes in order of magnitude of 30 per cent of the global warming emission by their respective transport sector. Henceforth to prolong mankind occupancy of the planet earth using less oil is the real solution.
Rising popularity of hybrid vehicles amongst the public is a positive indicator towards reducing the usage of oil to propel our vehicles. Forthcoming electric and fuel cells vehicles into the market place are more than welcome by those who are concerned with the undesirable global warming phenomenon.

However, for those non-emission vehicles to effectively replace the conventional ones, suitable and massive infrastructure to support the vehicles must first be put in place. A predicament currently faced by most governments of today, where economically it is not viable to install the expensive infrastructure while waiting for the vehicles to come on the roads. Whilst the vehicles manufacturers simple avoiding to mass produce the vehicles without infrastructural support for a simple reason without appropriate infrastructure market penetration would be difficult.

While technological developments have gone far forefront for those non-emission vehicles with successful prototypes now awaiting mass production, the prescribed predicament is a factor that will delay in the common usage of these non-emission vehicles both worldwide and nationwide.

Increased awareness of the consequences of global warming will be the push factor for governments to seek solution towards encouraging and enhancing the usage of non-emission vehicles by their respective populace.
Malaysia, being a nation sensitive to the effect of global warming, has instituted a specific policy to bring about the use of energy efficient vehicle (EEV) in the country via its National Automotive Policy (NAP 2014) launched in early 2014. The policy encourages EEV be manufacture in the country with the hope of the nation becoming the EEV manufacturing hub in the region.

Rental, sharing or leasing schemes for electric vehicle enthusiasts have been introduced in collaborations with local entrepreneurs to promote the use of electric cars. The initiatives have started since 2014 and expected to intensify to a bigger scale by 2018.
Commercial electric vehicles usage by the local transport operators is an on-going project successfully implemented and soon it is our hope that electric buses will replace the polluting conventional ones operating in the capital cities for commuters.

Battery manufacturing locally is a crucial step towards ensuring the sustainability of electric vehicles to operate on the local roads. Initiative in this respect has been encouraging and the locally manufactured battery will be available upon the bigger penetration of electric vehicles in the local market.
Advanced research in areas such as powder production for cathodes and anodes, cell, modular production, pack assembly technique and vehicle integration procedure for batteries are on-going to support the manufacture and usage of electric vehicles in the country.

In all endeavours Malaysia must focus on creating the right ecosystem for electric mobility to flourish and its usage sustainable in the longer terms.

Electric Mobility Can Significantly Contribute Towards Reducing Global Warming

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Lifelong learning way forward for automotive skills development

Economic advancement of a developing nation depends largely on its manpower development initiatives. In this respect, sound planning and implementation of the manpower “Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)” will help to elevate the skills and competencies of workers in their respective workplaces.
The recent government budget for 2016 saw a serious attention given towards the enhancement of TVET, where some RM4.8 billion to be allocated to 545 TVET institutions.
Priority given to the TVET programme is a right move on the part of the government so as to achieve the targeted 60 per cent of the 1.5 million new workers to be created by 2020 that are TVET skilled.
Creativity and innovativeness of a workforce is paramount in an industrious developed nation. These human intuitions are rarely achieved within a nation workforce without appropriate industrial exposure and multiskilling development during the early stage of their TVET training and later in their working lives.
Job hopping among workers may be perceived as their process of multiskilling acquisition but more often the end result made the person a generalist skilled worker without in-depth skills and knowledge of specific areas of work or technique.
A motorcar mechanic regularly moving from one workshop to another for his employment rarely able to focus on any specific skill on vehicle repair and maintenance job, while an individual who spent a longer term of employment on gearbox repair and maintenance, for example, will eventually become a gearbox specialist able not only to repair but innovates new gearbox concept for a vehicle.
The lifelong learning concept must be promoted to our younger generation entering the workforce. Lifelong learning can instill creativity, innovativeness, commitment and responsiveness in the workers thereby enabling them to adapt in workplaces.
However, the essence of a lifelong learning must be quantified from time to time acknowledging an individual of his or her level of achievements. A national recognition through certification scheme is the best means to regulate this endeavor.
In this respect the Department of Skills Development (JPK), Ministry of Human Resources has, since 1996, introduced a Recognition of Prior Achievement or “Pertauliahan Percapaian Terdahulu (PPT)”, certification scheme to recognize skilled workers emphasizing on the lifelong learning concept.
Individuals who are able to demonstrate skills, as outlined in the National Occupational Skills Standards (NOSS), based on previous experience and achievement held can be awarded the Malaysia Skills Certification (SKM) at various levels accordingly.
Having been appointed as an “industry lead body (ILB)” by the JPK, the Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) is now serving on behalf of JPK as an avenue for automotive employees wishing to be certified under the PPT programme.
The programme offers to certify employees with a minimum of 4 years working experience in automotive related field recognized by the NOSS.
The participants are required to submit their respective portfolio demonstrating their experiences with proven documentation certified by their respective current and previous employers.
The documentations are in turn to be verified by JPK appointed external verification officer as true evidences of their experiences.
In the last couple of years MAI has successfully implemented the PPT programme recommending numerous workers in automotive repair and maintenance establishments and parts and components manufacturing companies for SKM certification of various levels.
The exercise not only able to enhance the sense of achievement amongst the certified workers but at the same time MAI is able to establish close rapport with the skilled automotive workers for future manpower skills enhancement programmes.
MAI looks forward for more automotive establishments and individual participants interested in the PPT programme.