• Madani Sahari

Balanced quality practices to enhance creativity, innovation

IT has been highlighted in the last few articles that passionate, creative and innovative traits among the local automotive industrial community are the needed foundations for competitive advantage that will ensure future success of the industry.

Many would agree that passion is the first most essential ingredient for building a creative and innovative automotive industrial culture.

Major global original equipment (OEM) manufacturer often credited their success to the culture of creativity and innovation that exist at all levels of their organisations, which are driven by the workforce that is committed and passionate in their respective field.

Their successes are further supported by the equally creative, innovative, passionate and entrepreneurial suppliers that work closely, deploying creative thinking to all problems solving in their working routines.

The current drive to enhance the competitiveness among local automotive industry focuses on quality aspects of manufacturing. Quality tools, such as the “lean Production System (LPS)” is being widely employed by vendors to ensure that their manufactured parts are of high quality as demanded by the OEMs.

Assisted by experts from Japan, Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) is the main driver behind the implementation of LPS within the local automotive vendors.

Results have shown that vendors that have adopted the LPS are now producing parts of the quality required by the OEMs and close relationship at all levels between vendors and OEMs are attained out of the LPS implementation.

A question may arise — Will the current aggressive focus to enhance quality have a long-term negative effect on creativity and innovative development among the workforce within the local automotive industry? One may also ponder creativity and innovativeness are the result of quality improvement initiatives, or vice versa.

It is obvious that creativity and innovativeness create business opportunities while quality initiative optimists the current business. Industry experts are in agreement that should quality is the main focus then creative and innovative thinking among employees will surely help in achieving the objectives.

On the other hand, if creativity and innovation are the focus, practical and productive breakthroughs need the quality techniques to be appropriately applied. It is therefore apparent that creativity and innovativeness within the organisation require quality improvement techniques being widely practiced and enhanced quality mindset is the result of the employees being creative and innovative.

However, there is a need to strike a balance in managing creativity and innovation as against quality improvement endeavors. Too much focus on creativity and innovation may lead to the downturn in quality excellence while less attention is given may result in the organisation to suffer from business opportunity stagnation.

The ability of the local vendors and the upcoming entrepreneurs to participate in the energy-efficient vehicle (EEV) national agenda will largely depend on their creativity and innovativeness, apart of attaining excellence in their quality management and outputs.

EEV manufacturing demands a new spectrum of engineering, materials and processing knowledge. Only those organisations and entrepreneurs that are keeping abreast with the latest technological development and having the creative and innovative abilities to exploit these technologies will survive in the future automotive industrial arena.

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