Recurring themes at the automotive logistics industry conference – 6th October 2016

 In Callidus News

“The People Agenda” by Iain Cooper


Had an excellent time at this year’s Automotive Logistics conference at Mercedes-Benz World with some really interesting sessions focussed on different aspects of moving both parts and finished vehicles between suppliers, OEMs and customers around the world. Great to get the first hand perspectives of both large-scale multi-nationals, and niche/specialist businesses on subjects such as technology (of course), environmental impact, supply chain, EV’s, and just sometimes inevitably ‘Brexit’. It did get a mention – regularly in fact (and how could it not, these were all international businesses engaged in a market of significant global scale).

I love learning and keeping up to date with ‘real time’ aspirations and concerns of our clients – partly because I am genuinely interested, and partly because as a supplier/partner it’s our job to be as conversant/fluent as we can be with what’s important to them. And both the above, help us engage more fully – and do a better job.

It was great to hear that during a number of sessions the issue around talent attraction – the people agenda, came up naturally and then actually went on to dominate some conversations.

These were mainly centred around talent attraction to the auto sector at a ‘grass roots’ level. “How do we compete with more ‘sexy’ careers in IT – all young folk (!) want to do is to work for  Apple or Google these days – not work in Automotive?” were common thoughts coming from many delegates, moderators and panelists.

One glaring example – as this was a logistics conference, was the shortage of drivers.   truck-driversWe’re some years away from the driverless truck and although tests of truck platooning in the Netherlands are producing very encouraging results (as part of the EU’s drive to accelerate the legislation relating to automated and connected driving and to stimulate its development) – drivers remain a critical resource for the foreseeable future.

Additionally, although warehousing and inventory management has very advanced technology already doing great things, businesses still need to hire people – even if it’s just to manage the technology.

Many OEM’s – JLR for example with Warwick, already have deep associations with universities to identify future talent and that works really well for them. However if there is a ‘sexy’ endmanufacturing
of the employment opportunity spectrum, some would say it’s the OEMs – especially the prestige or high end brands.

It appears the deeper challenge is with the more industrial business areas, components/parts, T1s, T2s, LSPs – all of whom are essential to the success of the auto sector, but for most of whom recruiting entry level talent can be a real struggle.

So are there solutions? There’s no magic wand that’s for sure, but there is always work that can be done about establishing a local, or national – or international, employer brand. Most of which really needs to be done on the multitudes of social media available and used (permanently) by the career entry brigades.

Additionally, engaging directly with whichever educational establishments are appropriate – sowing seeds, offering training, industry qualifications and career paths. Here at Callidus HQ we’ve just started a graduate recruitment programme and are finding that supporting the career entry folk through their choices is just a great place to be. It’s highly rewarding and fulfilling – evgraduate-opportunityen the really bright and well-qualified ones can get bamboozled by trying to navigate their way through CVs, interviews etc. so it really does feel great when we can dust them off, get them focussed and give them a chance to prove themselves. Whichever part of the auto sector you’re in, ‘people’ will always be an agenda item as long as ‘people’ have their own thoughts and make their own decisions – be they a graduate or highly experienced.

So as mentioned in an earlier blog, the ‘how’ becomes as important as the ‘what’ when it comes to talent attraction, and if a business is unsure what a good approach might look like, we are always available to talk.

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