What Trend Should You Leverage for Automotive Success?

What trend is critical to long term success in the global automotive industry?What trend is critical to long term success in the global automotive industry?

I’m at the TU Automotive Conference in the Novi, Michigan today. I’m spending the day talking with a wide range of leaders and speakers at the event. I can’t wait to share more of what I’ve learned and how it will impact your life and business in the coming years. What trend will most impact you? 

Over the past year we’ve shared how to use hard and soft trends to build into being a market leader. I believe the most challenging part of leading automotive organizations today is how to build a more agile and anticipatory organization.

Here’s what I’ve learned over the past year in preparing for this TU Automotive event in Michigan. I will share several key hard and soft trends, so you can better understand the challenges facing this global industry.

The first hard trend is you’re facing different competition than you do today. A wide range of competitors are going to come for your customers. Its not an if any longer but how many.  What advantages do they have over many of your more traditional larger global competitors? How quickly will they get in and what part of the automotive industry are they going to focus on first?

One soft trend is how large are the capital investments for new organizations moving into your markets? Will traditional barriers of entry keep these organizations out of automotive? Who might be best positioned to take advantage of these new opportunities? How will you deal with competition from outside industries that have significant financial reserves? Think Microsoft or Apple, who have very deep pockets. They have well over 200 billion in cash they could invest if they see the right opportunities for sustainable growth and market share.

The second hard trend involves the changing role of suppliers in your ecosystems.  The power and capabilities of your best partners are changing as we speak. Global competition is real. You will never have your market to yourself again. On the upside, you will have many choices on who you partner with to create a unique customer experience in your markets.

How will suppliers mitigate risk in their organizations as they strive to reposition themselves with their customers?  What will this value chain look like? From what I’ve heard from auto suppliers over the past several months is many feel they can bring their best customers a more innovative solution to many of the challenges facing connected and autonomous manufacturers.

A soft trend might be how you create stronger partnerships with key suppliers for mission critical applications. How do you hedge your bet as new, critical technologies come to market?

The third hard trend is you’re facing increasing government regulations as your vehicles are prepared for market. What role will government regulations play in helping define what technologies are adopted?

In the past, government compliance has played a role in how vehicles are built. Safety concerns and large government regulations will change your products in way unimaginable as little as several years ago. Many legal partners are staffing up for future legislation.  These government regulatory bodies will not only regulate more but will require you to develop vehicles that are significantly safer than what has been allowed to come to market in the past.

The final hard trend is many of your best engineers are going to retire over the next several years. Many of your younger engineers have not developed the skills required to lead a cross functional, multi-national, remote team. How will you meet the increasing need for cross functional expertise and leadership to produce your next generation of connected vehicles?

Will future automotive technologists be able to help create a product or service a customer will be willing to buy? Ride share services like Uber and Lyft are making major inroads with many customers who in the past bought many of your most profitable vehicles and services. How you respond to this impending shift may determine if you are in business in 2025 and beyond.

As a byproduct of the age trend, are you prepared to attract the kind of new talent your organizations require? The good news is all organizations face similar talent challenges. Are your key leaders entrepreneurial enough to compete with many of the world’s most innovative startups?

The large shortage of all types of workers in manufacturing will get larger as your best team members have more choices in how they build their careers. How will you leverage remote teams, collaboration platforms, and constantly changing demands to build an ecosystem that can support your new business model?

As importantly, can your younger business managers become innovative business leaders. How will they leverage new business models that support the next generation of connected and autonomous vehicles?

See you next week when I share what I learn in Michigan this week!

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