Tuesday, 17 October 2017
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It's funny how American potato chips command a higher price compared to our local chips made from bananas or tapioca.

Processes are most likely the same, yet they differ in perception or "status" as the preferred snack between meals.

The basic principle behind the success of a product is value, with production cost often irrelevent to the purchasing decision of the consumer. Simply put, we will part with our hard earned money when the perceived value of a product or service is equal or exceeds its price.

Perceived value is not just derived from quality and pricing alone. It is also a function of the consumer psychography - the experience, stature, financial flexibility and also the customers' level of need.

It is not surprising why most economocally-developed nations not only possess strong foundations in the optimisation of their manufacturing or service operations, but also have developed an understanding in the psychometry of their customers by tailoring their products to the behaviours and purchasing decisions of different market segments within their ecosystem.

The free market and liberal economic world view, prevalent in the latter half of the 20th century, was perhaps a product of this understanding of consumer behaviour. Naturally, businesses with access to larger markets attained a wider reach for their tailored products and services, and faired better within the globalised economy. With diminishing economic borders in the 21st century, this equalled the playing field between nations with different population size.

As we progress, one key disruption to conventional economic theory was the advent of e-commerce. Connected globalisation had somewhat equalled the playing field between big businesses and small players.

Key examples include Lazada and Facebook, Internet companies that grew in the shadow of much larger competitors to emerge champions of their targeted markets. Interestingly, these companies grew in size with one specialisation - they owned customers without having their own products. They partner other companies, each with their own specialisation, and the interdependence of these large network of businesses contribute to the success of each, perceived as a single brand or entity.

The world speaks of the global value chain concept. As products and services grow in complexity due to technological advancement, it becomes impossible for an entity to invest in all specialisations to bring forth a particular product to the world.

With specialisation being the key word, here, it doesn't matter if you are a car manufacturer, a textile trader or a tapioca chip procuder - your specialisation needs to be matched to the appropriate global value chain for any chance of global success.

Failure to customise products in a world that is growing ever much closer to mass customisation - honing down to specific consumer analytics - may diminish the perceived value of products that are our comparative advantage.

I believe that a shift in focus is required, here, in which funding and government policies must evolve not just in line with changing trends, but rapidly changing economic norms. While fundamentals of marketing and business will remain, business models must keep up with changes in the "rules" of the game.

The best player may no longer score points when the rules of the games change.

The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institite.

Saturday, 07 October 2017 06:49

Additive Manufacturing Design Workshop - CATIA 3DExperience

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3D1

Additive Manufacturing Design Workshop - CATIA 3DExperience

Attention Engineers, Designers, Technicians and students of the automotive industry!
First in Malaysia.
The future of design and manufacturing will require the use of additive manufacturing or 3D printing technology to reduce weight, cost and time.
The main advantage of shape optimisation software is to reduce weight by removing material in a part without affecting its strength. The optimised shape will be lighter and more aesthetic.
Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI), through Digital Engineering and Prototyping Programme (DEP) is going to conduct a series of Additive Manufacturing Using 3DExperience for the local automotive suppliers and public.
Two levels of training available:
Level 1: Introduction to Additive Manufacturing Using 3DExperience
Level 2: Additive Manufacturing Optimisation and Handling of 3D Printing Machine
Details of the CATIA 3DExperience Additive Manufacturing Workshop are given below:

WhatsApp Image 2017 10 08 at 10.42.43 AM

Details of the CATIA v5 Additive Manufacturing Workshop are given below:

Fee :  RM825/pax/level or RM1500/both level

Date :
Batch 1:-
30 Oct – 3 Nov (5days for level 1)
6 Nov - 10 Nov (5days for level 2)
Batch 2:-
13 Nov - 17 Nov (5days for level 1)
20 Nov - 24 Nov (5days for level 2)
Batch 3:-
4 Dec - 8 Dec (5days for level 1)
11 Dec - 15 Dec (5days for level 2)

Time              : 9:00AM – 5:00PM

Venue             : Training Room 1, Malaysia Automotive Institute, Cyberjaya  

Please sign up here: http://bit.ly/2xZYPts

*HRDF supplementary documents will be provided upon request

One of the key notions in this column has been the ability to adapt to change. Adaptation to change is not just about survival, but the core fundamentals of emerging as a leader that sets the trends, and nor merely sailing with the winds of change.

Whether or not the sentence above reminds you of the golden days of German rock bands, the point is that Malaysia in must now transition from a nation that adapted to global trends, to an economy that has the ability to set those trends ourselves.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) forecasts Malaysia to be within the top 25 largest economies in the world by the year 2050.

While this is a good indicator of the growth of our economy, it is based on GDP per capita (PPPs), which therefore requires us to fill in the blanks on fair distribution of wealth in view of our economic growth over the next three decades.

One of the key ingredients to achieve this is the sustainable participation of all walks of life in the Malaysian economy. Whether or not you are a business owner or employed, every Malaysian must be given fair and equitable access to economic participation, but also an environment to develop capabilities and talents in their careers and achieve greater social upward mobility.

To propel ourselves to greater heights, it is important to grow our regional and global presence within the economic arena. I’ve mentioned in numerous articles in this column that achieving sustainability in a liberalised economy is the best bet forward, and economic policies should be geared to assist businesses and people from gaining assistance.

Conventional economic theory dictates that managing our “comparative advantage” is key, i.e. we should venture only into areas that we have a significant advantage over, such as labour costs, logistics and raw material availability.

However, as conventional economic borders are quickly diminishing and business modes changing, conventional wisdom may also need a system update. Economic policy must also gear towards developing such comparative advantage as the diversification allows for faster reallocations should our economic dependancies become obsolete due to rapid economic disruption.

Apart from consistent, forward looking economic policies, the government has implemented countless initiatives to guide business and individuals seeking opportunities to participate in the new economic order, spurred by the fourth industrial revolution.

Examples include the continuous investment and robust development in digital technology, including the establishment of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ).

The education sector is also going through numerous upgrading in teaching philosophies, such as increased gap bridging and integration among universities and industry players. Programmes such as the CEO@Faculty Programme, 2u2i and efforts to enhance skill levels through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) are also in progress.

The agricultural sector is also shifting gears. While our comparative advantage in rubber and palm based products remains intact, we are also looking to specialize in higher yield premium agro products such as seaweed, herbs, swift’s nests and our king of fruit, the durian.

It is for this reason that the administration shifted the automotive industry towards gradual liberalisation, through the National Automotive Policy 2014. The automotive sector, despite its size, has always been a prime mover of technology spin offs for the use of other sectors. The massive technology consumption in manufacturing processes assists other industries that consume the same materials and processes, such as plastic, rubber, metal and composites as they spin off the technologies to elevate all sectors.

It is also for this reason that the automotive industry is witnessing a transformation from a domestically driven market to a globally thinking market leader. We will continue to work with both local and global experts and organisations, and allow high value to penetrate our borders. After all, those borders are slowly diminishing anyway.

It is better to be the worst of the best, rather than the best of the worst.

The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.

Thursday, 28 September 2017 07:13

EXPAND YOUR MARKET THROUGH E-COMMERCE : ALIBABA.COM

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EXPAND YOUR MARKET THROUGH E-COMMERCE : ALIBABA.COM

 

 

Opportunity for Malaysian automotive SME to expand your business through E-Commerce platform.  

One of the action plans under the NAP 2014 is to increase the exports of automotive components, spare parts, replacement parts and related products from the local manufacturing industry and aftermarket sector.   The Malaysian Government had recently established the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) with objective to provide more opportunities for Malaysian Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) to expand their market overseas through e-commerce. DFTZ is the world’s first special trade zone that will make SME’s effort to export their products to the global market much simpler, faster and cost-effective.  

In conjunction to this, MATRADE in collaboration with MAI are in the midst of recruiting Malaysian Automotive SME to be the first 1,500 companies to be offered special introduction packages of up to 80% discount to participate in Alibaba.com platform which is the strategic partner of DFTZ.   As such, we would like to invite your company to the briefing session which will be held as follows:  

Date               : 2nd October 2017 (Monday)

Time               : 9:30AM – 11:30AM

Venue            : MAI Auditorium, Malaysia Automotive Institute Block 2280 Jalan Usahawan 2, Cyber 6, 63000 Cyberjaya, Selangor

 

EDM MAI 2

 

If you have any inquiries, feel free to contact:

Muhammad Hilmi
0134707987
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

INFOgraphic Viewpoint 210917 5

If we were to analogize Malaysia's economic growth as a business entity, it has been a very successful venture. Since our independence, our natural resources and fertile soil gave us the seeds to progress.

While the high exports of resources such as rubber, tin, palm and crude oil made us global players for these commodities, we soon realised that high dependence on raw materials exports subjected us to the high risk of market fluctuation.

The total collapse of the global tin industry in the mid 1980s was an eye opener - and in order to keep business afloat we adapted quickly to manufacturing.

Fast forward to the turn of the century, we are at the next stage of progress - the all-important growth stage and advancing our preparation towards a fully liberalised global market.

For most countries on their way to emerge as a global economic player, the key is to move from an inward-looking economy and to become a player that can compete in new and bigger markets.

To grow further, we need to look at the fundamentals we have developed thus far. Just like any expanding business, we cannot rest solely on the leadership. It requires a nationwide belief and confidence that we can expand beyond our current capacities.

However, our progressive economic growth, as demonstrated by numerous international indicators, is not spared from speculation that breeds economic anxiety.

The examples of such growth are aplenty. The ASEAN Development Bank's (ADB) recent report placed Malaysia among the best growing economies in Asia.

We are now ranked among the top 25 most competitive nations in the world. PWC forecasts Malaysia to be the world's 24th biggest economic powerhouse by 2050.

Just like any growing economy, we have and will continue to have occasional setbacks. The more important question is: would we be able to address those setbacks, or will we take the easy way out?

When the price of crude oil fell in 2015, the implementation of Goods and Services Tax and rationalisation of subsidies by the government allowed us to sustain our momentum.

During that period of uncertainty, the natural consequences, which included cost of living and financial constraints for businesses did not deter our economy, rather the Malaysian economy strengthened further, despite speculation, rumours and negative vibes being played.

The next step is clear - to be part of the global economy, we must have an open market mind set, and the acumen to work with others.

Business should never be a zero-sum game, it should never be about one entity winning over the other. In order for us to compete, we must seek healthy competition, and we will never access world markets if we are reluctant to open our borders to the world.

Strategically, we should view new partnerships and ventures as opportunities, and not confining ourselves to our comfort zones.

Growth is exciting and challenges are overcome with calculated risk. Spread the belief that we are ready to penetrate the global markets.

"A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him"

The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.

There has been interesting progress in terms of Malaysia's development of late, particularly on the global front.

From reports of trade surplus to strengthening ties with the world's superpowers, we have been making headlines.

This momentum is not only a result of our progressive economic policies and political stability, but also due to the continuous support and participation of the lowest common denominators in our economy.

The government and the people transitioned into higher value economic activities through forward thinking strategies that allowed us to quickly adapt to the dynamics of global scenarios and trends.

This progressive approach, including the government and economic transformation programmes had earned us the recognition of respected global organisations such as the World Economic Forum and The Economist.

Who would have thought that a developing nation now ranked among the best in the world on several fronts.

We currently have one of the best healthcare systems in the world, and are recognised as one of the best places to invest and to start a business. We are ranked among the top 10 faster-growing economies in the world.

These achievements did not come through mere luck, as they are a testament to our strength as a nation.

The current administration has prepared us better for the liberalised economy. Of course, it is not always a smooth ride, as beautiful destinations are often discovered at the end of the roughest of roads.

Traditional borders and business dealings are rapidly fading away, giving way to a new digital ecosystem that transcend boundaries.

While this lowers barriers to entry for small businesses, it also forces liberalisation - the creative and innovative survive, and those that refuse to budge from protectionist mentalities become irrelevant.

Therefore, the open frontiers of global cyberspace necessitate an open mind to new ideas and bold, strategic approaches. The rapid change mentioned above also allows for emerging possibilities that were deemed impossible before.

This is why pre-conceived bias is a dangerous thing. It becomes a lot more dangerous when sources of information are unfiltered, making it easy to develop pre-conceived bias that tends to overpower credible reporting.

Recently, we have seen these bold approaches in the government's position on the socio-economic front.

Our wealth is now more diversified to include both foreign and domestic investment. We encourage international ventures through startegic alliances with global players, and we are taking a leading role to address humanitarian issues and security concerns in the region.

Nevertheless, these endeavours have not been spared from condemnation. While constructive criticism is most welcome, we must be careful of polemics that may cause the retardaation of progress in society, and leave our nation vulnerable to external threats.

To maintain and elevate our progress, Malaysians must be open minded and unbiases. We must look at the merits of any issue on a case by case basis, based on well-researched facts and sound rationale. There is always two sides of the story, there is always a bigger picture to consider.

For me, discussion and dialogue are an important components of quality decision-making. There are many platforms to do so, such as the Transformasi Nasional 2050 (TN50) dialogues, and the call for ideas for the annual budget.

It is therefore important that pre-conceived bias is removed, for meaningful dialogue to take place. Let the arguments be understood, analysed and avoid polarised positions.

Not all of us have the luxury to make decisions. To move forward, a decision still has to be made. There will be many opinions, and naturally it is imposible to satisfy everyone. However, decisions that have been made should be supported, despite our disagreements.

To do otherwise would simply be counter-productive.

Leadership has never been about absolute popularity, but making difficult decisions even though they may not be popular.

The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017 04:08

What Makes a Car Qualified to be Called an EEV?

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What Makes a Car Qualified to be Called an EEV?

 

With so much buzz about Energy Efficient Vehicles (EEVs) entering the market, do we really know what qualifies them to be one? Does a vehicle qualify as an EEV just by emitting less carbon monoxide? Not sure? Well, here’s a list of criteria that will surely help you identify the next EEV you see.

Malaysia has taken the issue of air pollution seriously so much so that the National Automotive Policy 2014 (NAP2014 ) was announced in 2014 with the main objective of making Malaysia a regional automotive hub of EEVs. According to the Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI).

Many may not realise that EEVs are not just electric vehicles. In general, EEVs are any vehicle that complies to a set of fuel efficiency standards (1/100km) and carbon emission requirements (g/km).

This includes vehicles with any powertrain, such as internal combustion engines (ICE), fuel efficient vehicles, Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), Plug-in Hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and full electric vehicles (EV). The NAP2014 also recognises vehicles propelled by other energy sources such as; Compressed Natural Gas, Liquefied Petroleum Gas, Biodiesel, Ethanol, Hydrogen and Fuel Cell.

 

Infographic EEV 070917

 

Fuel efficiency is measured according to the UN ECE R101 standard. The specifications mentioned above are divided into 14 different classes – 10 for cars and four for two-wheeled vehicles. Whichever type of vehicle it is, they would still have to conform to the two criteria – fuel efficiency and carbon emissions. The Malaysian government expects 85% of all vehicles produced locally to be EEVs by 2020. Domestic EEV sales in 2015 and 2016 stood at 32.6% and 42.8% respectively of the overall vehicle sales.

 

 

Infographic EEV 070917 rev01

 

Besides the fact that we get higher fuel economy and cleaner air in our ecosystem, car manufacturers can enjoy tax exemptions on hybrid and electric vehicles BUT it must assembled locally. In the meantime, efforts towards establishing battery manufacturing for EVs in the local scene is underway together with lithium powder, battery cells and battery assembly packs useful for the production of lithium based batteries are all expected to commence by the 2nd quarter of 2017.

 

EEV

 

Did you know that Malaysia already has electric car charging stations? Yup, you heard that right! These stations are located all over Malaysia including the Klang Valley, Penang, Malacca and Johor. Popular shopping centres such as KLCC, Lot 10, Petronas Solaris and Bangsar Shopping Centre provide this service together with several Nissan service centres. While we were too caught up with other popular brands producing their EEVs, little did we know that we too, have produced our very own EEV! And that’s none other than the Perodua Axia that was launched in September 2014. Want to find out more? Attend the Malaysia Autoshow on November 9 to 12, 2017 to feast your eyes on all the EEVs available!

In the mean time, watch these videos to know more about EEVs and the future of the automotive industry!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vYdQ2vNK7U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqwPcL4TiGs&t=73s

This weekend, we close the year’s season in the celebration of freedom and nationalism. For me, it also serves as a reminder of how far we, as a nation, have progressed.

Although progress is often judged through economic indicators, capitalist ideals of personal wealth posession can in no way be a yardstick for true progress. It is difficult to fathom the social acceptance of being only rich by bank account, and bankrupt morally and principally.

From the economic standpoint, the last few years have been challenging. We felt the pinch of dropping oil prices, unfavourable currency exchange rates and rising costs of living.

We had to make some tough decisions that included tax restructuring and budget re-prioritisation for the sake of sustainability.

Apparently, social media and economic uncertainty is not a good mix. Tough times can bring the harshest of emotions and muddle meaningful discussions.

Positive indicators are often at high risk of being specialist knowledge, such as being ranked among the top 25 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, or The Economist’s ranking Malaysia as the 8th fastest growing economy for last year.

We have also been ranked within the top five countries in terms of healthcare, and best countries to invest or start a business in.

Economically, we have performed well on many accounts despite difficulties we have had to face. As humble as Malaysians are known to be, we should be proud of our resilience.

This column has always advocated fair judgement, and defining progress must be done holistically in order to be fair.

As mentioned above, great civilisations have the ability to advance forward while mitigating the risk of bankruptcy of our moral values, compassion and passion. Societies that have human compassion tend to have better wealth distribution, exemplified by a significant middle class.

Since independence and the formation of our nation, this has always been our guiding principle. We have developed this ecosystem of opportunity through the leveraging of our multi-cultural difference, and peacefully overcome disputes.

Our compassion and humane nature have resulted in a low poverty rate, compared with regional counterparts.

When one of the worst floods hit the state of Kelantan in 2015, Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI), organised a flood relief drive with the automotive industry to alleviate the suffering of our countrymen in the northeast.

To our surprise, the support we received was very overwhelming, we received more than we ourselves could carry.

Recently, we have taken the next step towards regional leadership in humanitarian efforts.

I applaud the administration’s courage in leading humanitarian efforts in addressing the suffering of the Rohingya.

Along with Indonesia, we have agreed to provide temporary shelter to the migrants, to allow the international community to address such a complex humanitarian issue.

This Malaysia Day, let us realign our thoughts to what it means to be a great nation. We are not perfect, and we may have our own issues to work on.

However, as long as we are smart about our problems, and we have that human touch, I believe that would be the formula to not just economic greatness, but a sustainable economic resilience.

Let us be known not only as the nation of great wealth, but also great compassion.

The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.

Thursday, 07 September 2017 03:42

MALAYSIA DAY - Our differences are our unique strength

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Many a time this column has addressed the challenges we face in progressing as a nation, from our post-colonial era to becoming one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Just like any infant nation reeling from post-independence, we naturally had our differences that needed addressing. These included income disparity, natural resource distribution, political and governmental ideologies.

Admittedly, there was a time diversity was easy thing to manage. Most people, despite background, want to get on in life as comfortably as possible. We all want peace, economic mobility, health and happiness for our own sake and for our loved ones.

However, it is unfortunate that most of the time, petty differences get in the way and muddle our common goal. As a nation that was born our of a divide and conquer policy, it could have been much worse.

This is where Malaysians are the strongest. True strength lies not in its display, but in its restraint.

Getting to where we are today has, of course, been a struggle. We had to overcome our differences of language, culture and worldview, and naturally overcoming distrust, lack of communication and economic disparity.

Perhaps this struggle is not over, but I can attest we’re advancing.

In 2009, Prime Minister Najib Razak added a new chapter to our progress as a nation. The cabinet announced that 16th September will be a public holiday to allow Malaysians Day. It is an official recognition of the day that we, as Malaysians, truly became a nation.

Today, we are a nation that celebrates our differences. We recognise that it is these differences that make us a progressive nation.

As a Sarawakian who has lived in both Sarawak and the peninsula, I’ve learned to appreciate and witness innovation and creativity bred through our diversity. Homogeneity often breeds bubbles of homogenous, unchallenged thought.

When the people you work with come from diverse backgrounds and world views, they tend to challenge ideas you may have taken for granted. These difference of norms then require defense and dialogue, and the best of ideas are born from such discourse.

My point is simple – our history created a situation where our social engineering placed us in a position to be innovative. The next step now becomes obvious – we need use our unique position to take the nation to the global stage.

So, next time you see Malaysians arguing over their differences, facilitate mature discourse and do not discourage the celebration of those differences. You may witness the next great innovation – born out of diversity.

Fifty four years ago, in 1963, the federation known as Malaysia was officially formed.

It doesn't matter why we decided to form the federation, what matters is that as a nation, we have progressed together because of our collective efforts to move together as one.

The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.

This year is one of those rare occasions where National Day and Hari Raya Aidiladha is celebrated back to back with each other. Despite its differences in religion and nationalism, the philosophies behind each celebration bear much correlation with each other.

While achieving independence has been a fundamental victory for us as a nation, the ideals of sacrifice has been enshrined through the Quran such as of the Prophet Ibrahim and his son Prophet Ismail which related symbolically to the hardship faced by our forefathers in bringing us the freedom we have enjoyed for the past six decades.

As citizens of Malaysia, we all have our responsibilities towards the development of our nation. Each generation, however, will have its own challenges which require sacrifice to bring us all to a higher level of independence compared to those who went before us, thus paving the way for even higher heights.

As a result of the efforts of previous generations of Malaysians, we now live in a country with an economy that is envy of the region.

From a generation that came out a times where ethnic diversity was an issue, each generation thereafter has progressed our nation to a point where opportunities for high value employment and business are aplenty.

Sure, there are problems and new issues to address. However, the key difference has been our drive to work on our problems in a peaceful and civilised manner.

This has indeed heightened our meaning of independence.

Today, our fight for independence is no longer from colonisation, but for the freedom from reliance on others to excel at the global stage.

To be an advanced nation, aspiring automotive nations like Malaysia need skilled workforce that is capable of independent technology development, which in turn will bring even more high value businesses and jobs to our shores and help us achieve our high income nations.

Independence also means having the foresight to understand future trends. Better still, be at the forefront of technological advancement, trade and investment, and set those trends for others.

This is of course easily said, but is a huge task to realise.

Nothing is impossible. We were told half a century ago that getting where we are today was impossible. What made us as independent as we are today? The answer is – sacrifice.

Modern times no longer need sacrifice of life like the stories of the Holy Book. However, as our lives become much more fulfilled with technology, the more we need to sacrifice in order to achieve the progress levels we desire.

Automation has transformed our duties and chores, leaving us more space to relax and neglect thinking about the future and focus on the superficial things that are a product of our increased purchasing power.

It sometimes polarises our thinking, leaving us unwilling to move beyond our preconceived notions and norms, suppressing our capacities in creativity, innovation and abilities to learn.

Modern sacrifice is the ability to shed our complacencies by sacrificing our play time to make way for meaningful activities that develop us not just as individuals, but progressive societies and nations.

This week, let us remember the struggles of our Prophets and forefathers. We would not have come this far if not for their grit, wisdom and sacrifice.

The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.

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