Weekly News Review | 29 August 2016 | Automotive Purchasing and Supply Chain Automotive Purchasing and Supply Chain

Talking Point

Zetsche loses the tie

I do rave on about the marriage of the technology and automotive industries, though this is because it is so important to our threatened industry. We will soon be mourning the loss of human-driven vehicles, replaced by technologically advanced (but boring) autonomous vehicles that cater for our lifestyles, whilst the motor industry gets muscled out by new innovative players. It is vital that manufacturers stay ahead of the game, as these juggernauts are on the cusp of being bested by newcomers, as we are seeing at the moment with Tesla. Automakers have started to embrace the software and ideas that new competitors are bringing into the market, investing in such things as EVs and infotainment systems.

However, I believe that they will benefit even more if they look at how these software-driven companies manage their business frameworks. Business is changing across industries and it is time to take a different approach. One automaker encapsulating the creativity and spirit of ‘Silicon Valley management’ is Daimler, who is ready to implement a new ideology and dissolve its German scrutiny. CEO Dieter Zetsche is ready to lose the tie, urging his staff to come up with new ideas for the automaker’s business plan, a completely new direction for the company so well known for its attention to detail and traditional management.

Rival automakers will be watching the German giant intently, paying close attention to any strange activity that could put Daimler ahead of them. Zetsche has already invested heavily in EVs and autonomous software, creating a range of new positions and introducing a number of software specialists in order to succeed in the developing market. The CEO strongly believes that although new players like Tesla are shaking up the market, they do not have anywhere near the amount of workforce or market share that Daimler posses. However, let us not forget that the Tesla Model S outsold the Mercedes S-Class in the US. These ‘smaller’ brands are creeping up on the automotive industry.

Zetsche wants Daimler to operate in a nimble fashion, similar to how these smaller brands are operating. This allows a more creative approach throughout the company, promoting entrepreneurial behaviour that will fuel the development of future mobility. Without this creative drive, automakers like Daimler will not be able to make the leaps needed to keep up with the constantly changing market, by sourcing new innovations and ideas. By forming a community within your brand, you progress as a whole instead of relying on a decision from the very top, which will substantially benefit growth. No one quite knows how the future will pan out, so flexibility and open-mindedness is key.

Alex Kreetzer

Alex Kreetzer - News Editor

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