New technologies not replacing manual labour: Mercedes-Benz Malaysia’s Luciana
08 Mar 2021
KUALA LUMPUR: New technologies namely big data, artificial intelligence and the Fourth Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) will not replace manual labour as it is still relevant to some business segments.
Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MBM) general manager training for Malaysia and Southeast Asia II, Luciana Urban-Jamnik said technologies would fulfil some of the business processes that require automation and digitisation.
“It is not the technology that replaces the human being but some business segments require new technologies. In terms of training, we will adapt to the manpower shift as I believe the IR4.0 – will systematically fulfil some positions with automation and digitisation,” she told the New Straits Times in an interview recently.
Luciana said manual manpower in particular interpersonal contact was necessary for the German marque to continue sales and after-sales activities.
“But our training have to adapt to the new norm in the post-pandemic with more soft skills such as communication and interpersonal to represent the Mercedes-Benz brand,” she said.
Luciana said MBM’s distance-learning ratio was currently at 80 per cent, almost doubling from 2020’s ratio at 44 per cent and 9.0 per cent in 2019.
MBM’s training method adapts to software, virtual and physical with programmes comprises vocational and sales and after-sales.
“Overall, we had about 400 participants in a week before the pandemic, coming from the retail and vocational training programme, mostly the Advanced Modern Apprenticeship (AMA) programme developed by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia following the standard of Mercedes-Benz Germany’s Apprenticeship – theoretical and practical programmme three-year course,” she said.
Luciana said MBM now has about 140 apprentices within its facility in Malaysia for the AMA programme and so far over 900 trainees had graduated from the programme.
She said training required adapting to a new norm in the post-pandemic due to travel restriction and social distancing.
Mercedes-Benz has created the “She’s Mercedes” platform dedicated to inspire, connect and empower women globally.
The initiative aims to connect women and create dialogues to exchange ideas and share experiences as well as to serve as a platform to learn from one another and support ambitions.
Having started five years now, the Mercedes-Benz brand has been telling the stories of extraordinary women globally and their unique successes across various fields that transcends cultures, industries, and experiences.
International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 annually to commemorate the social, economic, and cultural achievements of women across the globe.
The 2021 campaign theme “Choose To Challenge” focuses on raising awareness about gender equality to create a more inclusive world in the future.
The theme is also in line with the global She’s Mercedes platform which is dedicated to inspiring, connecting and empowering women, highlighting their unique success and creating a dialogue that transcends cultures, industries and experiences.
She said She’s Mercedes initiative aims to empower and experience the engagement and inspiration to enable sharing of knowledge and experience within the female community.
“We use this platform for a lot of events not only for International Women’s Day but also for marketing and promotional products. We want to reach successful female customers segment,” she said.
Luciana said MBM had reached the right time for women to empower themselves and seek their career on what they were passionate about while not awaiting for any permission.
“Everyone should focus on what he/she is good and passionate at, and develop the skills and look for the right training in the right direction.
“We are in the right time to execute that (training). We have the courage to pursue their goals without having the permission,” he said.
Luciana said MBM aspired women to share experiences and learnings under the platform to inspire and give the opportunity to other women to express their strength and aspiration.
“All of our subsidiaries are doing this for International Women’s Day, activating all the staff to get them to express their opinions on gender equality and empowerment,” she said.
Luciana said gender equality in the local automotive industry was not a worrying trend as it was gradually “developing and growing”.
“Gender equality is about mindset and not entirely about numbers. The mindset is influenced by culture, education and life experiences that build the mindset.
“More equality we have in education, the more equality we have in gender in the industry. Education is an important pillar to promote gender equality,” she said.
On her personal career experience, Luciana has been with the Mercedes-Benz AG in retail training for 24 years, providing retail training for both sales and after-sales across different continents such as in Latin America, Europe and Southeast Asia.
“I did this for seven years – in Latin America, Germany, the Middle East and SEA. Currently, I focus on Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and general distribution countries Loas, Myanmar, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Brunei and the Philippines,” she said.
Luciana said the training comprised different segments across customers, products and after-sales services.
“Our customers look for pureness in luxury and centricity. It is the trend they look for the “Best or Nothing”. We focus on training the retail staff, for them to be prepared to give customers the best experience and empower retail staff with the knowledge to be able to provide customers with the best brand experience and products.”
Luciana spends majority of her time within the training department.
She said training was a mission to develop the staff and not only to transfer the knowledge but rather influencing their way of thinking.
“We work with different layers and priorities, which require a lot of involvement with different department.
“Between 2002 and 2010, my team and I have introduced the C-sales programme – a certification programme for Mercedes-Benz sales, standard programme for qualification and certification procedures for sales.”
Luciana said the programme not only focus on the historical, facts and figures (knowledge transfer) but include training for the staff to be the brand ambassador.