Tackling the automotive industry talent shortage
Automotive-IQ spoke with Dr. Cole ahead of this year’s 11th Annual Automotive Seating Summit on July 26-28 in Detroit, MI. He discuses:
- The main challenges in the next 3-5 years regarding safety, systems and comfort
- How to tackle the shortage of technically sophisticated talent for future vehicle system
- Current fuel economy standards that have an impact on cost and pricing
- And, views regarding the old model vs. new model in the automotive industry
What are some of the main challenges in the next 3-5 years regarding safety, systems and comfort?
How do you believe we need to go about tackling the shortage of technically sophisticated talent for future vehicle system?
“This is a huge issue and it requires action on many fronts. We are working on several. One is Building America’s Tomorrow aimed at providing video messages getting K-12 kids to consider careers in manufacturing related jobs and getting an appropriate education. Check buildingamericastomorrow.com.
Getting more visibility of the supplier community because the average person doesn’t know the industry other than the OEM’s. We are talking to OESA about a series of videos called Team Auto. Reconnecting with retired people. We are working on a concept called the Experience Connection.
We’re also working on a project called Living Book of Wisdom where videos that can be easily accessed of senior and retired people that have important knowledge in a given company.”
Why do we have such a dated view when it comes to manufacturing?
“We have not effectively told the story and this is a key reason people are avoiding manufacturing related careers. Go to buildingamericastomorrow.com and look at the video.
We have to tell a better story of manufacturing to help people understand that manufacturing today is very high tech and very important economically and there are great jobs for those with the right education.”
Could you tell us some of the current fuel economy standards that have an impact on cost and pricing?
“The future standards are unclear right now because of a review process that the Obama Administration tried to by-pass. The current standards in place for the future will be tough to do at a reasonable cost. Certainly down weighting and downsizing are options. A challenge will be the customer and fairly inexpensive fuel.
Below is a key figure that brings the consumer into the picture.”
What are your views regarding the old model vs. new model in the automotive industry. Specifically, on the urgency for automakers to remain competitive through smart innovation?
“Innovation will be ever more important for both manufacturers and suppliers. Technology is moving very fast and becoming more complex whether in materials, manufacturing methods, electronics and much more. Check out AutoHarvest at autoharvest.org.
It is a not-for-profit company we started to speed innovation. Everyone must move more quickly in a globally integrated industry.”
What are your thoughts on Trump reopening fuel economy rules for 2025. How will this impact automakers and how engineers adjust?
“All I can say is ‘stay tuned’ and fuel economy is not the only factor. We need to be looking at trade policy, tax policy, immigration and more.”