Welcome to our roundup of the news that's grabbed our attention from across our specialist industries over the last month!
PSA Group and Chrysler have formally agreed to merge, creating the world’s fourth largest car manufacturer, with combined revenues of £144 billion and 8.7 million sales. The deal was agreed in October and has now been formally enacted through a binding Combination Agreement, with the merger taking place over the next 12-15 months.
The new company has claimed it will provide the leadership, resources and scale to be at the forefront of a new era of sustainable mobility. The combined portfolio of the merged companies includes high-profile car brands such as Citroen, Peugeot, Vauxhall, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia and Maserati.
FIA president Jean Todt has stated that F1 is unlikely to become fully electric for decades, if at all, despite the success of Formula E (a more accessible proving house for manufacturers than F1). Arguing that electric engines won’t be able to deliver the sheer power required in F1, Todt said, "At the moment you can only consider F1 with a hybrid engine…you cannot envisage FE substituting F1. There is not one [electric] race car able to do 300km (race distance) at the F1 speed today. He added that “today hybrid is the proper choice, the next step is to see how we can secure greener fuels."
Manufacturing & Tech
At this year’s Manufacturing Leaders’ summit, the originator of the concept of Industry 4.0, Henrik Von Scheel, has explained how manufacturing is the epicentre of 4IR, and how manufacturers can apply the tools and techniques of the era in their businesses and supply chains.
According to Von Scheel, Industry 4.0 is based on “cyber-physical production systems aiming to connect the physical and digital world of production” (through the) “digitisation and integration of value chains and products and/or services.”
The first of Tesla’s new V3 Superchargers to be installed outside of North America have landed. The firm has installed eight of its new upgraded chargers in its Park Royal service centre in London, creating its 500th Supercharger station in Europe. The new chargers are expected to be able to serve more than twice the number of customers per hour than Tesla’s outgoing V2 chargers, generating a peak power of 250kW which could allow a Tesla Model 3 to regain 75 miles of charge in five minutes.
Tesla has promised charging rates of up to 1000 miles per hour, with a typical customer charging time likely to be around 15 minutes. Charging will be further facilitated by a new feature called On-Route Battery Charging, which heats car batteries when travelling to a station so they are at optimal charging temperature on arrival.
Review culture is common amongst Gen Z, who frequently research Glassdoor ratings of prospective employers, questions on Quora and other “social proof” indicators before making decisions about where to work.
55% of Gen Z use their smartphones for five or more hours per day, with a quarter using them for ten or more hours per day. They expect corporate communication to be digital-first (i.e. via email, messenger and apps-based communications), with 68% of Gen Z reading three or more reviews before buying something for the first time. Decision-making for this generation is heavily influenced by online information, regardless of what they’re buying or buying into. Employers take note.
Leaders & Exec
Earlier this month, Professor Klaus Schwab unveiled the new Davos Manifesto, a set of principles that will underpin the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in 2020. Entitled “The Universal Purpose of a Company in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, it sets out the need for a better kind of capitalism – namely, a “stakeholder” capitalism which will sustain our economic system for future generations.
Stakeholder capitalism sees corporations as trustees of society, in contrast to the more dominant Shareholder Capitalism, which sees maximisation of profits as the primary responsibility of corporations.
According to Professor Schwab, what he calls “the Greta Thunberg effect” has “reminded us that adherence to the current economic system represents a betrayal of future generations, owing to its environmental unsustainability…(while)…millennials and Generation Z no longer want to work for, invest in, or buy from companies that lack value beyond maximising shareholder value.”
Earlier this year the 200-member Business Roundtable argued that shareholder primacy must no longer be the sole driving factor behind corporate behaviour, a move that was hailed by some and greeted with cynicism in other quarters.