• Madani Sahari

Expect more competitive environment as new investments set in

Malaysia's automotive sector is set for an exciting 2016, after a stable performance this year.

Although the appreciation of the US dollar against the ringgit resulted in consumers being more cautious in their car purchases, it is interesting to note that the Goods and Services Tax impacted the industry somewhat positively, as oiginal equipment manufacturers (OEMs) either reduced or maintained their prices from April onwards.

The automotive industry is expected to see a more competitive environment next year as new investments under the National Automotive Policy 2014 (NAP) set in, resulting in not just a higher production volume but also added-value to the automotive workforce, business owners,

technology developers as well as the consumer.

Employment Opportunities and Career Enhancement in the Automotive Sector

The Malaysian Automotive Human Capital Development Roadmap (MAHCR) will further meet the ever-growing demands of the Malaysian automotive industry, which is constantly evolving in product complexity and process efficiency.

The roadmap focuses on two paths – meeting the immediate needs of the automotive industry and preparing for the future requirements of the industry. The manufacturing and after-sales sectors require a skilled workforce capable of product and process design, with quality cost and delivery in mind.

As of this year, Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) Human Capital Development programmes have created 14,319 new jobs through numerous efforts, such as Automotive Industry Certified Engineer (AICE), Industry Led Professional Certificate (IPC) and Apprenticeship programs.

When combined with direct recruitment by the industry, the total of new jobs created is estimated at 23,000.

MAI has formulated a plan to create 25,000 new jobs in the automotive sector under the 2016 Budget.

The plan also comprises training for 10,000 existing workers, enhancing the competitiveness of more than 100 local vendors, upgrading 2,500 existing workshops and developing new entrepreneurs in sales, distribution, services, repair, manufacturing, remanufacturing and recycling.

The plan is in line with the NAP's core thrusts, including creating new jobs and entrepreneurs, career enhancement and improving existing businesses.

Creativity and Innovation requires Conducive and Collaborative Engineering infrastructure

As the NAP 2014’s 2020 target looms closer, it is important that the industry’s technological edge is strengthened in the key areas of engineering design, prototyping, product validation and process development.

The global automotive ecosystem has created the need for shorter and cost-effective product development cycles, and our local industry is not spared from the need to cope with this trend in order to remain competitive.

As technology acquisition is a challenge for the local community, MAI has embarked on the implementation of the MAI Intelligent Technology Solution (MITS). MITS is an ambitious project that will comprise an integrated technology solution for both the manufacturing and after-sales sectors, from product conceptualisation to vehicle after-sales support.

In the area of product and process development, the Design Engineering and Prototyping (DEP) programme will provide a platform through shared facilities of software and hardware to utilise the entire automotive community’s expertise in design and analysis. DEP has so far benefitted more than 100 parts and components manufacturers (vendors) and vehicle manufacturers like Perodua, Proton, GoAuto and others.

The after-sales sector will receive a technological boost through the implementation of two after-sales solutions, plugged into the MITS system.

These two solutions, namely MAI Garage Information System (MAGIS) and CarBengkel, will provide service centres, spare parts distributors and consumers with a single interface to meet their after-sales needs.

As we approach the age of Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data, MITS will serve as a productive and cost-effective solution for OEMs and vendors to enhance the value creation process of the local automotive industry.

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