Shaping the Future: Why Talent Development Is Paramount in Automotive Supply Chains

Shaping the Future: Why Talent Development Is Paramount in Automotive Supply Chains

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In this episode of the Auto Supply Chain Prophets podcast, Naseem Malik, the Managing Director of MRA Global Sourcing, brings his extensive 25 years of supply chain expertise to the table. He joins hosts Cathy Fisher, Terry Onica, and Jan Griffiths in discussing the ever-evolving landscape of the automotive supply chain. Naseem sheds light on the profound shifts catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing the need for agile leadership in a rapidly changing environment.

The conversation delves into the pivotal role of technology, particularly artificial intelligence, in reshaping procurement and supply chain operations. Naseem also underscores the significance of nurturing emerging supply chain leaders, fostering learning agility, and embracing technology to maintain a competitive edge. Moreover, the episode explores the emerging trend of isolating purchasing functions from manufacturing, impacting communication, relationship building, and supplier innovation. It also explores the concept of a talent supply chain, highlighting the importance of talent development, training, and retention within organizations.

Notably, Naseem identifies a critical challenge facing the automotive industry: catching up with tech-focused competitors like Tesla, who have made significant strides in technology integration, placing traditional automakers at a disadvantage. To remain competitive and drive innovation, automotive companies must invest in enhancing their workforce's technology proficiency and readily adopt digital advancements throughout the supply chain. This episode offers invaluable insights for professionals navigating the dynamic automotive supply chain sector.

Themes discussed in this episode:

  • COVID-19's impact on supply chain 
  • Tech's impact on procurement and supply chain
  • Learning agility and tech adoption
  • Challenges of talent management
  • Shifts in supply chain dynamics
  • Staying relevant in a tech-driven landscape
  • Competing with tech-driven industry disruptors

Featured on this episode: 

Name: Naseem Malik

Title: Managing Director, MRA Global Sourcing

About: Naseem Malik, with over 25 years of automotive industry experience, serves as the Managing Director of MRA Global Sourcing. He excels in talent development, curating exceptional supply chain talent, and offers expert advisory and consulting services to enhance organizations' supply chain operations.

Connect: LinkedIn

Mentioned in this episode:

Episode Highlights:

[03:44] Challenges in the Post-COVID Supply Chain: The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reshaped the automotive supply chain, introducing disruptions, tariffs, and volatility. Naseem emphasizes the need for agility and end-to-end expertise in managing these challenges.

[05:30] Crucial Skills for Supply Chain Leaders: Naseem highlights the importance of an agile mindset for supply chain leaders. In a rapidly changing environment, practitioners need to be adaptable and versatile, capable of taking on various roles within the supply chain.

[11:28] The Impact of Separating Supply Chain Functions: Naseem discusses the growing trend of separating purchasing functions from manufacturing in the automotive industry. This separation affects communication, relationship building, and supplier innovation, posing challenges for supply chain leaders.

[18:27] Technology and AI Adoption: The adoption of technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), is on the rise in supply chain management. Naseem discusses how companies are leveraging AI to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and make data-driven decisions.

[22:33] Talent Supply Chain: Naseem introduces the concept of a "talent supply chain." Similar to the traditional supply chain, this model focuses on strategically sourcing and nurturing talent within an organization. 

[25:37] The One Thing: Naseem emphasizes the need for the automotive industry to catch up with tech-focused competitors like Tesla. To remain competitive and innovative, the industry must bridge the technology gap by investing in talent development and technology adoption.

Top Quotes:

[6:50] Naseem: “It's better to be able to hire for the future, meaning somebody that's got the potential, somebody that's got the upside and can do this versus saying, we have to find somebody that's got a very specific skill set.”

[19:24] Naseem: “Continue to learn as much as you can, that learning agility is what will set you apart.”

[19:45] Naseem: “The more you embrace what's happening today on the technology side, and understand that while it's not going to replace you or replace your jobs, the people that actually use this AI technology will be in a much better position than people that don't use it.”

[25:59] Naseem: “If you provide your talent within your company the opportunities to grow, if you train them, whether it's internal, or whether it's external, and encourage them, incentivize them, that is only going to help you and pay dividends.”

[28:04] Naseem: “In order for us to build a competitive car and to stay on the cutting edge, we have to understand technology because we have to go negotiate with the suppliers, we have to be able to speak their language.”


Delivering on the Promise of Delivery: Automotive Sustainability and Profitability

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White Paper for Leveraging Risk Management in Automotive

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Operational Restart Readiness

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The 24 Essential Supply Chain

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Keep in touch with Auto Supply Chain Prophet's co-hosts Terry Onica and Jan Griffiths on LinkedIn.


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