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News & Press: April 2019

Life is change, growth is optional - choose wisely!

11 April 2019  
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Please find below, an article featured in Racecar Engineering written by Chris Aylett, CEO of the MIA.

We are certainly in a period of exceptional change. There's no doubt in my mind that the most fun in business occurs during a period of change or business growth. It's an important time for businesses to take stock and choose their direction of travel for the next few years, wisely.

As I write, neither Europe not the UK, have a clear view as to what our future trade relationships will be except that they will change. In addition, our relationships with our politicians are going to be substantially affected for years to come creating a different climate in government with regard to its relationship with businesses. The damage done by the past two years of debate, consultation, argument, and stupidity by some, has not impressed the wider business community on the whole.

Social media means that immediate comment and information is shared faster than ever - not always based on well-considered facts but, nevertheless, powerfully driving change. 

The motorsport sector faces substantial internal change, in the way important race series are organised, funded, promoted and directed from technical regulations.Over the next two years, most of the influential series will see substantial change- Formula One, NASCAR, WEC, WRC, BTCC - the list goes on. Whether to reduce costs for competitors or teams, increase the viewing audience or to satisfy the demands of major automotive brands - there are many people to please!

Sitting at the centre of the Motrosport Industry Association (MIA) I have the benefit of enjoying discussions with small and large businesses which are planning to grow during this, apparently, chaotic time. This privileged viewpoint allows me to collect ideas from those most likely to succeed who are already taking steps to succeed.

Hidden within apparently negative news, there a few rays of sunshine and it would pay to focus on these. For example, OEMs are reducing their engineering staff by thousands meaning highly-qualified engineers will be available. The slow, but inextricable, rise of electric power across motorsport - from karting to Moto GP and through hybrids - will open up a range of technology - based opportunities for fast-moving, innovative companies. 

The internal combustion engine will require good engineers for many years ahead to consistently improve efficiency and utilise new fuel sources - a journey that's likely to be influenced by the speed with which hybrids are embraced in motorsport. There are so many variants of hybrids, from low tech to high tech, in development again offering opportunities for those willing to embrace change. 

In 2021 we will see hybrids in most touring car series and rallying but at what level of technology will these be, from the relatively simple to the ultra-sophisticated. Cost control will probably demand the former initially over the first few years.

The current level of change across the automotive sector is quite exceptional. OEMs must urgently develop their next generation of vehicles by reducing weight and adapting to new technologies and techniques. There has never been a period where so many different applications require consideration, innovation and solution. This is a perfect time for the high-performance engineering community in motorsport to focus on delivering solutions in short runs, rapid time and at best value. 

Be certain you don't get left behind. You should now, with your colleagues, develop a three-year business strategy which identifies changes in your markets, your customers, technologies and even governments. This will include a direction for you to follow and to succeed and identify that all the people in your business are going to have to adapt to change. 

You need to link closely with your respective business community and the leading facilitator of that community, such as the MIA in motorsport. Many have spotted the value of such organisations and we are welcoming new members every week. 

The reason is simple - the best way for you to stay on top of changes and gather relevant market knowledge is by meeting companies in the same sector. Make your business community association work hard for you, be sure to get best value from them. Attend meetings to talk with, listen to and hear from similar businesses about opportunities arising and of collaborations to be developed. 

You're going to find your customers are changing too so stay close to them, check you're fully aware of their direction of travel and that you can cater to them. The world around you is changing whether through governments, markets or technology. Stay alive and well-informed about those changes you need to consider in your strategy. Spot those technology changes to which you can react quickly and profitably. Accept that life is going to change for you, your business and your employees, so be sure you take them with you on your journey.

So many positive benefits will be enjoyed by those in motorsport who are fleet of foot and well organised being ready to rise to these challenges at this exciting time over the next three years. I'm excited by the role that the MIA will play in this for our hundreds of members, whether delivering useful conferences, valuable network meetings, or influencing government on behalf of the industry.

The profit from this confusion will accrue to those who make themselves ready to embrace it now. Good luck in the season ahead and in creating your three-year business strategy to secure your success.

Chris Aylett