5 November 2018

Rewarding the thoughtful use of technology

Our Automotive Global Awards, held last week at the Savoy Hotel in London, reflected some of the most pressing themes of the automotive purchasing and supply chain rather poignantly and prompted me to consider the state of our industry.

Several important points were made by the categories of awards that we chose to give, and by the recipients who spoke albeit briefly, on stage last Thursday night.

From the award that went to Kia as the OEM of the Year, through recognition for individuals and organisations in categories such as Terminals and Ports, Vehicle Processing Centres, Aftermarket and many more, several important themes emerged. Parham Antonio Vasaiely, Senior Manager Autonomous and Self-Driving Car Development at Jaguar Land Rover collected one of two Rising Star awards, along with Richard Leonard, Finance Director at ARS Altmann. Vasaiely spoke passionately of the importance of harnessing the connectivity of today’s and tomorrow’s vehicles to help streamline the supply chain and also talked of the importance of personal development through ‘mindfulness’ and how the power of the human spirit must be nurtured in all fields of endeavour.

Advanced technology was also part of the winning formula for Product Innovation category winners Degould, whose Auto-Booth, incorporates auto-imaging technology to provide digital evidence of a vehicle’s condition at every stage of its production and transportation, eliminating disputes over damage liability.

From the stage, I gently ribbed the audience about comments that some had made to me that supply chain and logistics really lags behind the rest of the automotive industry in its use of advanced technology and IT and this was a great example of how this can and will change.

Another major theme which came to the fore over the evening was how the industry must deal with the challenges of the rising cost of heavy oil fuel for trucks and ships, and the importance and difficulty of the ocean fleets meeting the 0.5% low sulphur requirement by 2020. Costantino Baldissara of Grimaldi, collecting the Shipping Company award, spoke passionately about how the importance of the fleet investing in low emission, high-efficiency vessels for the future.

Also in the environment sector, full truck load management saw LKW Walter collect the Environmental Sustainability award, and the Environmental Awareness Award was won by Nissan Energy, whose Managing Director, Francisco Carranza, also collected a Leaders Award, both showing the importance of harnessing new technology to help preserve the world we live in. I have only touched on the number of award winners and we will cover the event in depth very soon but the themes that emerged and the trends of using new technology to improve our industry’s performance in fiscal, environmental and human terms were tremendously positive signs for a great automotive industry future.

Simon Duval Smith

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