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EMERGING SKILLS AMID DISRUPTIONS IN THE
AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY

Only the fittest survives, said Darwin in the Theory of Evolution. It is relevant in every field, across the boundaries of space and time. A successful person is one who adapts quickly to the surroundings.

An Introduction to the Webinar:

As Team XLR8 - Motorsports Club of Jadavpur University adapted to the digital platform based webinar on Emerging Skills Amid Disruption in the Automotive Industry, our guest speaker, Mr. Arindam Lahiri, CEO of Automotive Skill Development Council, spoke about the adaptation in the industry.

Mr. Lahiri is a stellar alumnus of Jadavpur University, Mechanical Engineering, and has specialized in the field of Marketing and Operations from IIM, Lucknow. After a whopping span of three decades in the professional field of manufacturing and education, Mr. Lahiri is presently the CEO of ASDC, dedicated to linking key stake-holders- industry, academia, and the government and upgrading Automotive skills for higher value up-gradation.

Touching on diverse fields related to the posed epigram, the webinar dealt with the shift towards liberal engineering, interdisciplinary skills in the automobile sector, digital dealership, and the importance of advanced technologies like 3D printing, autonomous driving, and Electric Vehicles. In the age of Industry 4.0, where data is the key asset, the importance of predictive analysis in the auto market was also discussed.

Print Your Ideas:

The burgeoning impact of technologies like 3D printing is palpable in the auto sector. It is gaining traction in series and customised end part production for motorsports and luxury vehicles. Prototypes produced this way have accelerated product development as we can now cheaply produce multiple iterations of the same product very quickly and select the best one.

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The webinar included an interesting case study on Bugatti’s 3D brake calliper, that went from design to component in just 3 months. It is made up of 2,213 Layers and can withstand up to 125 kg/mm squared force. It is 2kg lighter than its Aluminium counterpart.

Tech Crunch in the Automobile Industry:

The megatrends that are emerging in the automobile industry is mind-boggling. They are interrelated, all-encompassing and welcomes knowledge and interaction of various branches of engineering. It is not just limited to the traditional Mechanical Engineering, but has been intertwined with logistics and supply chain support, research in the sector of Electrical Vehicles, knowledge of Instrumentation.        

  • Truck platooning: 

    • It’s a method of linking two or more trucks in convoy, using connectivity and autonomous driving technology, by virtue of which the trucks automatically maintain a fixed distance between them. This saves 30% of operating costs and reduces driver stress.

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  • Precision mapping:

    •  With the advent of IOT, vehicular connectivity and GPS tracking the vehicles are able to calculate shortest distance to destination. Automated routing will help in avoiding traffic congestions, achieving optimum fuel efficiency and less wear and tear.

  • Vehicle diagnostics:

    •  Onboard diagnostics allows vehicle owners to remotely monitor engine, fuel level and air pressure, which in turn allows preventive measures based on that data.

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  • Cloud networking:

    • A real time connection between fleets and shippers can help in full capacity utilization. Onboard sensor-equipped trucks weigh the current load and estimate the available capacity in real-time through a digital freight matching platform.

  • Blockchain technology:

    • Blockchain technology can be used to track something as minute as the temperature inside the carrier to monitor and ensure the safer and efficient transportation of the perishable items.

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Portal for Opportunities?

With the pandemic, the Global Supply Chain has met with an impasse. This has disrupted the shipment of some EV components and batteries from China, the main supplier of such components in the Indian market. The embargo can be leveraged to our advantage of hyping up research on the same to get our indigenous EV components. In the coming times, this might open up an entire range of opportunities for automobile enthusiasts.

As the world is moving towards cutting edge technology, a major focus was given to the skill gap in the automobile industry and the necessary skill set that a fresh engineering graduate should hone.

 

Current Skill Gap in the Manufacturing Field:

  • Industry knowledge and technical knowledge pertaining to vehicles

  • Interpersonal skills, negotiating skills and multitasking skills.

  • Skills for maintaining the required service levels and customer satisfaction levels.

  • Process knowledge for customer service delivery cycle.

  • Skills to handle sophisticated software for design, such as Pro-e, Catia, etc.

 

Changing Landscape of Job Profiles:

New job roles like Battery Technicians, EV Technicians and Predictive Analysts are emerging in the Automobile industry. Skills like basic knowledge of Electrical and Chemical Engineering, working with high voltage and electronic equipment are also important. Predictive analysts can implement data algorithms based on current condition of the vehicle and driving data to give a servicing date for the vehicle. With the industries bending on Just in Time (JIT) models and improved logistics to get a value differential in the market, such analytics of the data is of paramount importance to speed up customer service.

Just like other job roles in the digital age, the existing roles of assemblers, welders, and maintenance personnel will evolve and they need to be technically equipped to handle robotic equipment, electromechanical systems and programming. For example, welding robots will need to be programmed and set, implementing automation projects will reduce manual work.

As we talk about the ephemeral and changing skills, let us take a quick glance at the changing landscape of job profiles-

  • Endangered jobs: Accessory manager, Washing Boy, Dedicated HR teams

  • Changing Roles: Customer Relations and Sales Consultant, e-sales management

  • New emerging jobs: E-outlet sales consultant, data analyst, infotainment system manager, digital marketing, digital content writer

The webinar also delved into the trends of digital dealership in automotive market. An understanding of the product to handle customer queries, management skills, ability to assess the completeness of documents submitted by customers, sufficient knowledge of vehicle anatomy are among the key requirements. Adequate training at auto component manufacturing units is another important aspect of upgradation of skills and adaptation to the fast-changing era.

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The presentation was followed by a QnA session that were deftly handled by Mr. Lahiri who quenched the queries of the participants.

Would excessive automation lead to a reduction of manpower, and hence job loss?

How would the Supply Chain in the automotive field be digitized?

How is the line of difference between engineering and management fading away, and how would a fresh engineering graduate cope up with it? 

Mr. Lahiri explained the adaptation of new job roles and their fusion with technology, and the importance of self skilling to succeed. He guided us to know more about better flow of information on the digitalization in the supply chain that smoothens the workflow, and the increasing importance of management skills in the workplace.

 

Final Comments:

The 21st century professional needs to develop a very active digital identity. Skills like using the internet, privacy, online learning will become important in the upcoming years. Communication Skills need to be developed and technology tools need to be adopted rapidly.

By 2023, India will have 119 million 18 to 22-year-old. The education infrastructure will have to adapt to this huge pressure. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will reduce the role of traditional teaching. Visualized teaching will enable classes to become tailored for skills. The conventional “degrees” will become less important and self-skilling will play a big role in the future.

It’s interesting to tide through the changing times, the ups and the downs, the zenith and nadir. There will be disruptions around, and some harbinger will bring in hope. It all depends on the perception of the beholder. Cling to the new trends, for change is the major constant. Equip yourself with emerging skills amidst disruptions. And lo! You are all set to face the brave, new world.

 

Contributed by-

  • Hrishiraj Mallick (Reception Chair, 2022-23)

  • Soumyadeep Das (Powertrain Lead, 2022-23)

  • Samriddhi Ganguly (Publicity Chair, 2022-23)

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