IBM Automotive last week released a survey of 1,500 auto executives about concerns and assumptions through 2030. A major issue for many of them is building a work force trained in next-generation technologies and business models, said Dirk Wollschlaeger, IBM's general manager for global automotive, aerospace and defense industries.
Wollschlaeger spoke with News Editor Lindsay Chappell about the outlook. Here are edited excerpts.
Q: IBM's new study, which you co-authored, has hundreds of executives saying they will need a different kind of work force in the future. Why?
A: So many products are becoming a service, based on the cloud and the Internet. We're moving from an age of big metal to an age of electronics and information and software.
But even looking ahead a decade, somebody will still have to manufacture all those car parts that are metal and plastic and rubber, right?
Yes, but who? What you will see, and we're already seeing this happen, is that many companies will exit that aspect of their business. They will hand it off to new companies.
What recommendations would you make to the industry for building this new work force?
We're seeing some companies place a greater emphasis on in-house training. To launch the new electric Taycan, Porsche created a tremendous curriculum and training program for its assembly workers. They devoted thousands of hours to training their mechanical workers in electrical processes.
If you can't get the people you want who are already trained to do what you need, you will have to do more apprenticeships and training. At this moment, neither the quality nor the quantity of people is sufficient. I believe it will require changes at schools. We're not getting the skills we need out of universities.
The challenge for the auto industry is that we need to start the training sooner.