While supporting the Jaguar Land Rover Global Supplier Integration event in February, we took the opportunity to interview four industry experts. Our aim was to understand their main business challenge for 2017 and share with you how they each plan on overcoming that challenge. We also wanted to know what advancing technologies they are planning to invest most in across 2017 and why. In addition, we covered topics such as investment across the automotive industry, innovation and the current climate.
Interview 1: David Taylor, Managing Director of Advanced Technologies at Prodrive.
Please can you tell us about your role at Prodrive?
I am Managing Director of Prodrive Advanced Technologies. Advanced Technologies is the engineering group. Effectively we are a design consultancy, we are paid by clients to develop products, offering a design service to them.
What do you see as your main business challenge in 2017 and do you plan on overcoming that challenge?
We are very busy and we have got lots of new prospects coming up in 2017, my main concern is actually being able to apply the resources to these prospects, so I am recruiting as fast as we can, particularly for the stem subject: engineers and technicians.
These are exciting times Prodrive have been very successful, not only in the motorsport world in which we had a great year last year, but equally our business within automotive has grown.
We made a big push last year to diversify our engineering skills into other market places and that has been successful, perhaps more successful than we thought it would be, hence the fact that we now have to recruit very quickly.
What advancing technologies do Prodrive plan to invest most in this year and why?
For the automotive side it is without a doubt that we are being widely asked to do much more work in electrification so we’re making a big push. We’ve announced some big programs with some big OEMs where we are assisting them getting their new vehicles into place and there is no doubt that more and more of that is going to be required. So we are gearing up for that. And also autonomous vehicles, we’re very much involved in the integration side of autonomous.
So where companies have got technologies that they want to integrate into a vehicle, they’re coming to us and saying “can you do this for us?” “Can you make a system using our technologies plus other technologies?”
It’s been reported that companies in the Automotive Industry are not investing as much as they previously have done, do you believe that to be true?
Certainly I am not seeing that and as we have heard today at the JLR conference, that doesn’t seem to be the case, certainly for JLR. My other big OEM customers, I would say that also isn’t the case.
What I am seeing are different players coming into the market, so companies that haven’t traditionally been automotive companies, and big names with pots of cash are also coming in and trying to create a vehicle of some description. So we are certainly not seeing that.