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3 Lessons Learned from the American Automotive Summit 2019

2 minutes, 25 seconds read

Last week, more than 200 leaders from the automotive manufacturing industry assembled at the American Automotive Summit in Detroit to discuss the current state of the industry, learn from one another’s experiences, and explore the challenges of the future.

And there are a significant number of challenges on the horizon. The automotive industry is feeling the impact of new self-driving technology, shared vehicles such as Uber and Lyft, electric vehicles, environmental regulations, trade tariffs, and more. These changes are shifting fundamentals in the industry and within the companies we recognize as leaders today. The OEMs we know so well (Ford, GM, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, etc.), and the enormous ecosystem of Tier 1, Tier 2 and other suppliers are being pushed to evolve. These changes will span the globe and affect millions of workers.

However, automotive industry leaders must balance their desire to evolve quickly with the realities of the large infrastructure in place and their responsibility for all of the people who are a part of the automotive industry.

Driving change

Among the many great messages delivered at the event, the following stood out:

  • Transformation on all fronts must be addressed deliberately through financial planning, partnerships, technology adoption, updated processes, and a focus on people. Carlo Materazzo, Head of Manufacturing Planning and Control, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Bill Foy, SVP Engineering, Denso, emphasized the importance of having visibility into all key performance indicators to make informed decisions while balancing competing priorities. The speakers stressed that invest and partnering in innovation must be part of the overall business plan. Efforts must go beyond each company’s own walls.
  • Employees are a critical part of the transformation journey and must be informed, empowered, and recognized accordingly. Jill Redmon, Global VP Quality, Lear Corp., stressed that driving improvement requires everyone to understand the role they play. Ensure all team members know how their individual contribution affects the final product presented to the customer.
  • Continuous education is critical. From the CXO office, to the frontline, to the partners, everyone must continue to educate themselves and focus on growth in order to keep up and compete in the future. Billy Taylor, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion for Goodyear, noted that creating a learning organization starts with engaging all associates, making them feel valued, and allowing them to grow.

Harness possibilities

It’s going to take a lot of innovation to help the automotive industry shift into its next iteration. Here at Rever, we believe that daily, continuous improvement is the most sustainable way to innovate. When organizations encourage every team member to identify areas for improvement, companies (and industries) begin to move steadily forward.

When those companies are ready to harness the powerful insight of frontline workers to transform manufacturing processes, the future opens wide with possibility.

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