• Madani Sahari

Automotive sector development to benefit community

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are important entities in an industrialized economy contributing to the growth process of a nation.

Effective industrial production depends on the efficiency and creativity of the SMEs.

The success of some advanced economies is largely attributed to its SMEs.

In some of these countries SMEs made up 98 per cent of their industrial establishments contributing to over 65 per cent of the nations’ employments opportunities and generating more than 50 per cent of their gross domestic product.

The introduction of National Automotive Policy-NAP 2014-is expected to create more investments opportunities as the nation's automotive industrial direction is geared towards the manufacture of energy efficient vehicles (EEV).

Business opportunities in the automotive upstream and downstream supply chain are also expected to increase as the vehicle total industry volume increases in the coming years with the government's exports promotion and incentives for manufacturing vehicles.

Business opportunities in the automotive after sales would also increase as the EEVs are entering the market place.

There is already increasing demands for repair and maintenance services by an increase in numbers of hybrid vehicles that have been marketed in the last couple of years.

Developing new ones and enhancing the capabilities of the existing automotive SMEs is one of the priority agenda under the NAP 2014.

In support of this agenda, the Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) has focused on several pillars of the developmental initiatives with various programmes been implemented.

1. Enhancing the current entrepreneurship among local vendors is one of the important initiatives. Lean Production System (LPS) and  Automotive Supplier Excellent Programme (ASEP) are among the programmes to benchmark the level of capabilities among domestic vendors.

The programme identifies the gaps that exist within the companies and special plans are implemented to reduce the gaps for the companies to excel in the automotive supply chain.

2. Developing new business opportunities is another initiative that have been regularly organised by MAI.

Entrepreneurs, both existing and newcomers, are exposed to new automotive technologies and practices via visit to overseas automotive parts manufacturers, such as those in Japan and Australia.

The programme has received encouraging participation from local automotive industry players enabling them to identify collaboration areas with foreign manufacturers. Collaboration enhances the vendors' competitiveness and makes them more reliable on global automotive supply chain.

3. Creating new business opportunities and entrepreneurs will be futile without sufficient skilled and committed manpower.

In this respect MAI has since developed various industry-led human capital development programmes to fulfill manpower needs. This creates new employment opportunities and enhances existing career development.

3.1 Automotive Graduate Apprenticeship Programme is one of the initiatives to provide broad exposure to undergraduate students in many aspects of automotive manufacturing activities. Students are attached to automotive related industries as early their first year undergraduate education.

3.2 Automotive Industry Certification Engineering (AICE) programme on the other hand provides an extensive one year automotive manufacturing exposure for graduated students prior to their entry into the automotive workforce.

3.3 Industry Led Professional Certificate (IPC) is a customized programme to uplift the skills and capability of automotive operators and technicians to become specialist in the selective area of automotive engineering and manufacturing activities.

These programmes will not only enhance the skill of the workforce but will also broaden their employment opportunities in automotive careers.

Special focus is given by the NAP 2014 in the aftermarket sector which will not only enhance the after sales service quality but also create new business opportunities within the sector, two of which are the automotive parts and components remanufacturing and the recycling business.

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