Car industry changing: These changes are in the Automotive manufaturing

Networked cars, autonomous driving, electric cars and car sharing - the car industry is changing.This will also dramatically change jobs in the industry.

Auto Manufacturing: In the classic production most changes are expected.
(Photo: BMW)

When it comes to BMW, Daimler, Opel and Volkswagen, the word "Autobauer" usually comes to mind. The term is, however, really no longer correct. "The formula for the mobility of the future is 'software times services'", says Prof. Stefan Bratzel , Director of the Center for Automotive Management (CAM) at the Fachhochschule der Wirtschaft in Bergisch Gladbach. This sounds complicated at first. But it really only means that the car industry will do much more than build vehicles in the future.
The signs are already visible: corporations such as BMW and Daimler already have their own car-sharing offers, which means that they are also becoming a car rental company from the pure manufacturer. The increasing networking turns cars into rolling computers. And assistants and autopilots take the driver more and more work - and could even drive cars all by themselves in the future.

As a result, major changes are also taking place in the car industry. After all, all these new business models and autopilots have to be developed: from company consultants, data experts and software specialists. It is no wonder that the big automobile groups are looking for such specialists . And even in the construction of the vehicles themselves will change according to unanimous expert opinion much.

Major changes in production

To build a good electric motor, for example, requires knowledge other than the design of classic combustion engines, says Bratzel. This is because such an engine is only made efficient by good control software. For this reason, programmers are mostly required. And chemists will also play a much greater role in engine development in the future, the expert believes. Because they know what is going on in the battery of an electric motor - and also how to optimize it.
But the biggest changes are probably in the classic production, that is, where cars actually roll off the tape. As in many other industries, even more robots will take on some work in the car industry. "We generally see a high degree of substitutability for manufacturing technicians," says Katharina Dengler of the Institute for Labor Market and Professional Research (IAB) of the Federal Agency for Labor.

4 percent are substitutable

The scientist examines jobs for their sustainability - that is, to what extent they can be replaced by a machine. The result is partly sobering: "64 percent of the jobs in the production engineering professions can already be handled by computers or machines," explains Dengler. Which is exactly what depends on the particular job: cleaning work is not yet good enough for robots, they are already top in car body construction.
Almost two-thirds of sustainability, however, does not mean that two-thirds of the jobs in the factory centers of auto connectors will be eliminated. "Jobs will only disappear completely in the rarest of cases, they will change," says Dengler. It is also conceivable that entirely new professions are created, or that jobs retain their title, but in ten years they look quite different from what they are now.

With the triumph of robots, the entire production process of the auto industry will also change. "In the coming years, we will see a departure from the assembly line in the automotive industry, towards a modular assembly," says Ralf Bechmann from the auditing firm Ernst & Young. "In concrete terms this means, for example, that each location of an automobile group will be able to produce any vehicle in future, no longer just individual series and derived variants."

"Multidisciplinary work always more important"

In order for this to happen, the factories must also become more flexible, including the employees. "In the future, it will no longer be the case that every employee performs the same work step every day," says Bechmann. "Instead there will be constantly changing requirements and a frequent change of workplace."
And, of course, other specialists will also be sought in the future. Not every production worker has to be an IT specialist , says Bechmann. Knowledge in mechatronics and software development would be increasingly in demand. "Multidisciplinary work is becoming increasingly important in the auto industry, just like lifelong learning and high willingness to learn," says Dengler. This applies to all employees, no matter in which job and with which qualification.

"More flexible and thus more attractive"

This sounds like a lot of stress, but it does not have to be bad for the employees. Bechmann assumes, for example, that companies in the auto industry will in the future invest much more in further education and also have to look after their employees. The competition for qualified job entrants is great - and their number finally.
"In general, it will be more important for companies to be more flexible and thus more attractive for companies," says Bechmann's colleague Silvia Hernandez, meaning flatter hierarchies and alternative career and working time models, better work-life balance and family leave, as well as time-outs. "For example, we already have start-ups within large corporations, with the corresponding impact on working practices and corporate culture," says Hernandez

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