Hybrid powertrains: how will this technology affect teams of the future?

The UK’s decision to ban the production of petrol and diesel cars by 2040 has meant significant changes for UK car manufacturers. In addition to this, there is increasing pressure on the Government to move this initiative forward, which means businesses need to act quickly in order to put in place the necessary technology/processes to meet the deadline. On this topic, Will Stirling wrote a feature in MTD Magazine in which he spoke about the future of the UK auto industry, “In December 2017, there were 132,000 electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK, including both pure electric and hybrid, or about two percent of sales. The UK Committee on Climate Change expects 60% of new vehicle sales to be electric by 2030.”

So, what changes can we expect to see in procurement and supply chain teams, due to the shift in vehicle manufacturing?

What does this legislation mean for businesses?

The new legislation has already seen large steps being taken by some of the world’s leading organisations. With companies such as Volvo announcing that they will use electric motors in all cars by 2019, the message for businesses to be more environmentally conscious is being heard across the world.

As hybrid vehicles run on multiple forms of power, there are multiple ways that they can be manufactured. This shift to a more diverse form of manufacturing automobiles has created an increased need for professionals that are skilled across all levels in this area. Organisations are beginning to invest billions of pounds into plants right across the UK and Europe. Because of this, we have seen a huge increase in talent requirements across purchasing procuring both materials and services.

Hire the right talent now

This new environmentally conscious business environment that organisations are now operating within is very demanding. To manage consumer expectations and keep up with the evolving market, businesses require exceptional talent that can navigate this journey with them. Sourcing the right talent is key.

When hiring at the junior level, there is now a huge focus on the need for professionals to have the right mindset for the organisation, coupled with the ability to develop and grow with an ever-changing business. For more senior hires, businesses are looking for professionals with strong leadership qualities and the ability to deliver under pressure. The stakes are high and continually rising, not all ventures will be successful so engineering and procurement should be completely aligned to ensure that the right materials are sourced the first time around. Competition is fierce, particularly when recruiting in niche areas. Many businesses won’t accept less than the very best when it comes to talent, although quite often this eventually leads to a skills gap within a team. In light of this, we have seen a shift towards international recruitment in this area, as many candidates that are applying for jobs are from overseas. By utilising Skype, Facetime, and Hinterview (video interview platform) in your recruitment processes you can open the doors to a wider pool of talent.

How can businesses appeal to top talent?

It is important to improve your employer value proposition (EVP) to appeal to talent with experience and knowledge of hybrid powertrains. Establish a cross-functional team to review the internal and external results of exit interviews to ensure that you are continually improving the experience for employees within your business. Internal employee surveys can also help identify the aspects of your business that people value the most. Draft an EVP through utilising this information, ensuring the following questions are considered.

1.    Does it align with your strategic objectives?

2.    Does it clearly differentiate your company from your competitors?

3.    Does it paint a realistic picture of what it’s like to work for your company?

4.    Is it inspirational?

5.    Is it simple, but broad enough to appeal to different groups?

Test your EVP with existing employees and a sample group from the external market to see if it adequately articulates why an individual would want to work for your company. Be sure to use our guide on how to ‘create a great employee value proposition.’

Assessing a potential candidate at the interview stage

For every position that you recruit for, there are key areas of a candidates’ experience and working history that should be discussed at the interview stage. This is important to make sure that you are outlining the candidate’s ability to fulfil the role. Here are some of the skills and experiences that you should look for when hiring a professional with hybrid powertrain experience.

  • Traditional automotive companies have mature purchasing divisions either using commodity or category management. It is crucial to find out more about their experience working in specific areas of the function, such as interior, powertrain, and more.
  • Do they have experience dealing with supplier issues or have the initiative to seek help from someone else in the business who has dealt with similar problems in the past? Your candidate should demonstrate how they have effectively dealt with stakeholders previously.
  • Good communication in procurement and supply chain is crucial. During the interview assess how well they discuss complex processes. Do they speak clearly and confidently when addressing key stakeholders and under high-pressure situations?
  • High volume EV production is a relatively modern requirement. Bills of materials are more complex, especially where they need to incorporate hybrid technology which mixes traditional combustion and EV powertrain components, systems and interfaces.  Evolution in this EV/hybrid environment is faster than the traditional automotive space, increasing the need for purchasing professionals to have experience of purchasing for new and rapidly changing components and systems. 

It is crucial to understand how adaptable your candidate is, and how they deal with problems within the business. As this monumental change in the industry approaches, your team will need to solve problems quickly and efficiently – be sure you hire the right people for the job.

If you are looking to hire top talent in preparation for the hybrid powertrain introduction to the procurement and supply chain industry, please get in touch with one of our specialist recruitment consultants today.

Pete McNulty
Business Manager, Procurement & Supply Chain
T: +44 121 230 9436