Thursday, 27 April 2017

ENHANCING CONSUMER AWARENESS - Autoshow to provide more immersive experience

When the National Automotive Policy 2014 was announced three years ago, little did we know that in the next few years, we will face economic uncertainty.
Despite significant gains in 2014, in early 2015, there were signs of an appreciation of the US Dollar.
The government, with full support for the industry, quickly moved to anticipate the issue and implement the measures required to counter its effects.
Despite pressing times, the industry still recorded its highest ever sales and production volumes that year.
Although the figures dropped in 2016, data showed a more holistic gain. We saw an increase in the number of jobs created, and recorded higher exports of automotive parts and components.
Registration of Energy Efficient Vehicles (EEVs) rose to 42.8 percent, surpassing the national target of 40 percent for that year.
Such is the resilience we see in our automotive ecosystem. The tireless efforts and collaboration between government bodies and industry players have contributed immensely to the enhancement of competitiveness of the ecosystem, allowing more choices for consumers at all market levels.
With that said, it is key to synergise our efforts with the needs of the consumer – as they are the most important stakeholder.
To implement a successful EEV program, it is important that consumers play a more participative role in the purchasing process.
In the modern age of social media, this process has expanded beyond the time the customer walks through the showroom door to the point of sales. It is now an immersive and most importantly, a continuous experience.
In of the digital age, the subject of transportation and mobility is always an issue that dominates our airtime and attention span, even when we don’t have a need for a new car. The market is continuously excited with the latest models that consume less fuel and produce less emissions.
We always seek the latest trends, technologies and features that fit our needs. Most of the time, the consumer has done his or her homework way before the purchase process is even initiated.
With that in mind, this year’s Malaysia Autoshow 2017 aims to further enhance awareness and experience for the consumer. For the first time, the autoshow will be held at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS).
The largest exhibition space in the country was chosen to provide consumers and car lovers with a more immersive autoshow experience.
The extensive roads and tracks around the venue allows for better test drive experience for the vehicles put on show, allowing consumers to understand the benefits of EEVs first hand.
The large exhibition halls allow more exhibitors to be part of the Malaysia Autoshow 2017. While more vehicles, technologies and other exhibits are on display, this year’s event will feature a larger automotive conference.
Visitors will have the opportunities to meet and engage with top automotive personalities, and gain more insight of automotive trends, technologies, as well as business and career opportunities within our growing automotive industry.
Now in it’s third year, the Malaysia Autoshow 2017 will be a product and reflection of the hard work put forth by all stakeholders.
It will be a symbol of the resilience of the automotive industry, and an annual gathering where consumer’s choice and industry technology come together under one roof.
I believe this market amalgamation will add momentum to our efforts to enhance the automotive sector to achieve greater heights.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

CREATING CHAMPIONS - Learn and train from the best around the world

Azizulhasni Awang’s world title at the recent Track Cycling World Championship is a breath of fresh air for us as a nation.
It is an inspiring win for Malaysia, particularly as the road to this great achievement has been steeped in tales of perseverance and comebacks from numerous shortfalls.
The story of Azizulhasni’s win has been a nail biting, yet interesting one to follow. I remember staying up to watch this young man, which I’ve only heard about for the first time, compete in the Keirin final at the 2012 Olympics in London.
At that time, a young Malaysian in an Olympic cycling final was a rare, yet exciting experience not just for me, but for my entire family.
Despite the result, it was nonetheless an event that placed hope in our hearts. The hope turned into fruition 10 years later, last week.
All his hard work, including a severe injury, would result in the birth of a Malaysian World champion, in a sport where physique and size are common ingredients to victory.
I’m sure by now this gentleman from Terengganu has moved on from his victory, and eyeing for the next achievement – possibly that elusive Olympic gold medal. We too must move on, for we are only as good as our last performance.
As a nation we should not just learn from failure, but from the victories of others. A simple question – what can we learn from the decade long story of Azizulhasni?
For me, anything that we fight for is just like a sport. Business, education or any career for that matter, is also about competing for the top spot. Being a champion creates opportunities to create more champions.
For example, imagine how immersive training can be when you race with the best on a daily basis. It’s for this simple reason that sports nations like the US and Australia continue to create champion after champion. Champions are not born, they are created though the perseverance, dedication and commitment of the athlete and their team.
Azizulhasni was trained locally at first, and soon found himself studying sports science in Melbourne’s Victoria University, where he continued training as a professional cyclist. He was trained in local flavour, then shaped to face the world with those who had the experience and expertise. This simply made him improve faster, as learning and training from experts are highly effective routes to success.
Sometimes we say that doing things ourselves in our own backyards, are the most valuable way to success. That’s true to a certain extent, but in a fast paced world, knowledge and expertise are everywhere. We are taught to learn from our forefathers, as they are more experienced than us. In a globalised world, we must learn from the forefathers from around the globe.
In the end, the results will speak for itself.
The books, unfortunately or otherwise, only record the winners. While we aim for the top, we should also read the the chapters that make up the success story of our ventures. To be the best, we must learn and train with the best. After all, success is a journey, not a destination.
My heartiest congratulations to Azizulhasni Awang. May this be an inspiration to our learning nation.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

STRATEGIC THINKING - Tolerance key to meaningful progress

The 21st century has not been impressive in advancing tolerance. Just a few days ago, we saw deaths from a bombing in Egypt, with clear undertones of religious extremism.

The peace-loving people of Sweden were also rocked with a terror attack in its capital of Stockholm, less than two years after another racially motivated attack took place in a school.

It is ironic that it is also in this century, we have seen great leaps in technological advancements and the birth of a new industrial revolution.
Yet, we can only dream that the same technology can be used to address the armed conflicts that has claimed the lives of thousands, perhaps millions, of innocent men, women and children in Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and many more war-torn countries.

As we read about the horrors from the results of intolerance in the global news, we should be grateful that, although we undoubtedly have our own challenges on the domestic front, most of us have secure roofs over our heads and warm meals on our tables upon request. For most of us, our daily struggles are with the enhancement of our livelihood, and not the struggle to survive.
Tolerance, in any form or function, is not just about acceptance of existence. It bears a deeper meaning, in which we accept differences of a person, ideology or opinion, and giving great respect to its existence in parallel harmony, compatibility and co-existence with our own.

It is not just about allowing a person of different race or religion the space to co-exist, but the acknowledgement and true understanding of those difference so they can be celebrated and integrated with our own lives, cultures and practices.

The key word here is understanding, as well as the observance and practices towards achieving such understanding.

To understand means to observe different perspectives. In many of my previous articles in the columns, I have touched on the risks of short attention spans due to wide coverage of news.
Narratives often find themselves emboldened through mere repetition, yet does not offer a holistic account of the ground. In the struggle to find perspective, we give ourselves the “short version” of the truth – the version that is secure in fact but removed of context.

Great strategies are often derived from diverse perspectives, as they provide clear context for quality decision making.

To move forward, let’s all start listening – without prejudice or pre-conceived notions. Let us allow different ideas to swirl in our minds before forming opinions. Assume that humanity wants progress and to move forward, although we disagree on how that forward movement is implemented.
Weigh them, analyse its costs and benefits to society and the environment, and most of all, learn from each other’s experiences – as experience is not just gained on our own, but from the lessons learned from each other.

Undoubtedly, it is fun to always be right. Then again, being “right” is a matter of popular opinion. There was a time Galileo was the only one who was wrong.

“Tolerance may make us feel like we are losing the battle of authority. It is however a necessary loss in the war that is social progress.”

The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION - Sensationalism ought to be tackled

MANY a times this column discussed the impacts of speculation on business operations and the livelihood of those working within these businesses.
The discussion revolved around half-baked truths and speculation causing the unnecessary apprehension and demotivation of stakeholders, leading to reduced productivity and market uncertainty.
This article focuses on truths, and how we move forward based on them.
In a time where social media is often an epicentre of information, the wiggle room afforded to those that relay information is getting smaller.
Most of the time spreading good news is difficult enough. Bad news is amplified, fingers are pointed and the blame and shame game starts, and small issues often dominate more important ones.
Especially for those who make a living out of the dissemination of information, the barriers of garnering audience attention have tumbled through the advent of technology. Nevertheless, aesier dissemination has also created the need to procure more effective ways to compete with such massive flows of content.
The free market of ideas and information undeniably has its advantages, especially when the public draws out multiple angles to a particular issue. The diversity of options, ideas and angles allows the public to judge the pros and cons of policy, forecast positive and negative outlooks and consequently make informed and educated decisions to safeguard their best interests.
However, when the competition for attention is intense, this may force information bearers to utilise "sensationalist" tactics.
Sensationalism often depicts the use of excitement at the expense of accuracy. Of course, the legal standards for false reporting are clear. However, there are no legal standards for using sentiment to drive readership hence this is where the issue begins. It is common to see truth used to solely to invoke anger and negative perceptions, as it is easier to gain attention through destruction, rather than construction.
While being creative in curating content is highly encouraged, one must be mindful of the impacts on such creativity.
In order to encourage social progress, it is important that the public at large be allowed to focus on their own social upward mobility.
For example, if someone works as an automotive engineer, he or she would be most productive when full focus is given to the daily technical problems at hand.
Imagine if a looming retrenchment was thrown  into the foray. Focus now shifts from the impending job related issues towards basic ricebowl matter.
Having said this, it is important to be responsible for the information thrown, either professionally or at a personal level. While construction criticism are encourage for social progress, sensationalism is slowly becoming a popular method that must be tackled.
Being cynical is often satisfying. However, we must not show strength through the weaknesses of others. It simply creates more cynicism, and hampers any fair grounds for meaningful dialogue and discussion.
The focus shift exemplified above is not just disruptive when discussing bread and butter issues. It affects society at all levels, from those going to and from work and worrying about the livelihood of the nation.
Anybody from my generation will remember  Jack Niclolas's infamous line, "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth" from the film A few Good Men.
The thing is, we all want the truth. We just need to ensure society benefits from it.
The writer is chief executive officer of the Malaysia Automotive Institute.