A Clarion Call For Component Manufacturers
The change is not coming, it has arrived and for the Indian auto industry to survive and thrive, small component manufacturers must embrace change.
Life in the fast-changing auto industry is difficult for component manufacturers, let alone large-scale firms and no matter what the future holds, the stakeholders have to take life-changing decisions fast.
This is simply because we currently live in strange times and what people around the world think and do today was determined and coaxed by someone holding massive amounts of power, in the past.
Many things we do in life, like believing in the climate crisis, revolves around the things we were fed, around the ideology somebody chose for us to accept. I am not against change, but change for the sake of being different and to suit a narrative is, from the outset, vindictive.
But, we must also be logical because if we do not foresee what is coming our way, we will be lost, like people who forget their roots and do not seem to be able to forge a path ahead.
Great minds in the automobile industry know what is coming and to be brutally honest, it is the layman, the common worker, the guy who clamps 2 body panels together in order for them to be welded, who is going to suffer the most. And, it is evident that the auto component sector and the people in it will struggle in the near future.
Think about it, EVs which many believe will save the world, have fewer components than cars with petrol and diesel engines. When legislators decide that the latter cannot be put on sale anymore, ICE car component manufacturers will find themselves struggling like a ship which has lost its rudder and oars.
It is high time such firms started an electric component section and adapted themselves quickly in order to survive and thrive. But even then, it is likely that firms with better reputation and resources that have accepted the change first will gain an advantage over their peers.
Moreover, with the arrival of new age automobiles, new firms will come up, stealing the limelight from existing ones, while the struggling firms will be left to meet a slow death.
As a byproduct of all this, the type of workforce needed will also change. More and more skilled labour would be the need of the hour. Those unfortunate souls who could neither go to school nor get a degree will largely be replaced by machines that can think for themselves.
So what can be done about this then? Well, it would be advantageous for children who are headed to college in a short while to choose a stream either about artificial intelligence, or computer technology, or electronics or chemicals, in order to find a job in the auto industry in the future.
A portion of those “unskilled” labourers might also be able to find work in one particular industry that is soon set to grow tremendously – mining.
To make EV batteries, one needs earth and rare earth metals. So, companies have devised big plans to launch a scathing attack not only on our planet’s onshore, but offshore resources too. Take a quick look at what mining equipment manufacturers are coming up with of late and the intent is apparent.
So, although, due to the excessive mining, we might experience acid rain, raze huge amounts of forest and damage the ocean floor (about which we know relatively little even in this day and age of space exploration), lawmakers and people would gladly accept it, for it will result in cars without a tailpipe and because it suits their narrative.
I think it is only common sense for component manufacturers to accept what is coming their way, not be in denial, train their workforce and crucially, not expect the government to save them.
In short, all I am trying to convey is that if we are failing to plan, we are planning to fail and when millions of people depend upon something, one really has to plan way ahead.