The Automotive Industry Action Group has hit a milestone in membership, welcoming its 1,500th new member into the AIAG community this week.
“Our membership has been growing steadily since the Great Recession,” says Kathryn LaFerle, AIAG’s membership manager. “The loss of both production capacity and technical expertise has been a real constraint to the industry’s recovery, so AIAG has worked very hard to help revitalize the sub-tier supply base and accelerate the on-boarding of our next generation of industry professionals.”
The recent rise in AIAG membership is attributed to several factors, including infusing community college, undergraduate and graduate programs, and adult continuing education curricula with real-world automotive industry content, attracting minority-owned businesses and collaborating with sister organizations in the Southeast U.S., Canada, and Mexico to address the increasing demand for more local sources with advanced manufacturing skills.
Regardless of the specific need, J. Scot Sharland, AIAG’s executive director, says the organization remains focused on its core mission. “AIAG’s primary mission is to drive awareness, access, and utilization of industry standards and allied best practices — and by so doing, mitigate risk, manage uncertainty and realize more predictable manufacturing outcomes,” says Sharland. “Our rapidly growing membership reaffirms the value of providing an open, neutral, professional, and legal environment where a diverse group of stakeholders can work collaboratively to make those things happen faster.”
In addition, young professionals and those new to the industry are finding value in AIAG membership through monthly Future Automotive Experts meetings, which feature a talk by an automotive expert followed by Q&A and networking. Topics include quality, leadership, and how to grow a career in automotive.
“The popularity of these meetings has grown dramatically because new professionals want greater access,” says LaFerle. “Our industry experts are eager to participate as well because they get to engage with new and rising industry talent and can provide both anecdotal experiences and basic knowledge that will positively impact their performance in their current assignments.”
“As a result,” LaFerle continues, “automakers are doubling-down on their commitment to AIAG, seeing the value of membership, and encouraging suppliers to join.”
Lastly, she says, “AIAG is tackling so many areas — like the big changes coming in quality, the growing challenges within corporate responsibility space, and the increasing complexity of global supply chain management — and people want to be at the forefront of what’s changing and have a voice in the direction it’s going.”