AUTO INDUSTRY - Globalisation paves way for new opportunities
It may not be apparent, but the nation’s industrialisation drive has paved the way for new opportunities for businesses and individuals operating within our borders.
The Malaysian automotive industry was set up back in the 1980s to spur technological capabilities. The holistic vision was not merely the ability to produce vehicles and their subsequent components, but to prepare the nation for a high level of design and manufacturing prowess and the ability to produce virtually anything.
The complexity or products and processes within the automotive industry prepared us with the mentality, training and skills to approach any heavy industry with structured scientific and engineering methodologies and thought processes.
Fast forward four decades later, we have hundreds of parts and component manufacturers supporting more than 25 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Our vendors have specialised in numerous processes – plastic injection, metal stamping, casting and forging, welding and assembly.
These components are produced while meeting the strict standards set on safety, reliability and quality of global manufacturers.
As these vendors also rely on their own suppliers, they are also required to develop their own supply chain to the levels that are expected by their principles.
This large supply chain has created a sizeable pool of talent that meets the high standards.
Most importantly, our local capabilities in design and development are gaining momentum. Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) recently joined Proton as the second OEM to design its own models in-house, seen in the launch of the Perodua Bezza last year.
At the vendor level, an increased productivity of 24% was seen among companies participating in MAI's Automotive Supplier Excellence Program (ASEP) in 2016, with more than 100 companies possessing either in-house product or tooling design capabilities, or both.
The earlier parts of this series discussed extensively the new norms of the global economic order.
At the heart of the discussion was a realisation that even at the global stage, economic tides are shifting due to change in political and socio-economic tides around the world.
With that in mind, now is the best time for our industry players and talent to brave the borders of international trade and globalised industry.
The government has been working towards more bilateral and multilateral trade deals. Most recent, is the strengthening of economic ties with China, worth US$160 billion (RM708 billion) this year.
Although received with numerous sensationalist polemics, this development has been a result of Malaysia's continuous commitment and participation to global trade in the ASEAN and Asia Pacific region.
The point of this closing article is simple - looking back at the automotive industry's achievements over the past four decades, we have come to a point where our capabilities have reached a level where we are able to push our boundaries.
It may be daunting and difficult, and perhaps along the way it will be viewed cynically, either by others, or even by ourselves.
However, the automotive industry was created to allow us to participate in high value business and processes, and as the approach is the same, it has positioned us to venture into anything of a similar, even simpler nature.
I believe that with the hard work that we have put together, and the opportunities we have created in current times, is the recipe for success at the global stage.
It only requires self- belief and courage to embrace the change needed to penetrate global borders.
If we wait until we are ready, we will be waiting for the rest of our lives.