Exclusive Interview with Mr. Ali Asghar Jamali, CEO – Indus Motor Company

BM: Brief us about your successful journey. How did you become a part of Indus Motor Company?

AA: After completing my fellowship from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan, I started working at Indus Motor Company in October 2000. During this time, I served in many departments, which groomed me to take on the responsibilities of Chief Executive Officer in January 2017. My journey at IMC is a constant effort to uphold our two main pillars of never-ending improvement and respect for our people, and to direct IMC to become a corporate leader in sustainable business practices in Pakistan.

BM: What has been the defining point of your life?

AA: Becoming a part of the IMC family has been the defining point of my life because I got the opportunity to be closely mentored and trained by Mr. Ali Habib. Very few business leaders can achieve success without a mentor to guide him/her through the inevitable ebbs and flows of business and I consider myself lucky to have Mr. Ali Habib as that person in my life.

BM: Toyota – Indus Motors is a one stop brand for most vehicle lovers in Pakistan. What has been the motive behind reinventing every model to something that always hits higher than our expectations?

AA: At Toyota-Indus Motor Company we are constantly rethinking our vehicle line-up. We are driven by the vision to be the most respected company and the need to constantly delight our customers with new and advanced models with futuristic designing and stylish features. As the CEO, it gives me great pleasure to head a company that is genuinely leading the entire automotive industry, and for that I have my team of talented people to be grateful for.

BM: What other ventures are you involved in currently?

AA: For any person in any position of influence it is important to not lose sight of what really matters in life. It is each individual’s duty to give back to the society and to protect the environment. I have taken up these two themes under which one of our ventures is a Clean Drive across 16 locations in Karachi, implementing the Toyota 5S philosophy. The employees of Indus Motor Company joined hands with the local citizens to clean up their neighborhoods, parks, and beaches and even the National Stadium of Karachi after the Pakistan vs West Indies series.

Our educational ventures are also quite close to our hearts. The Toyota Technical Education program offers youngsters who have completed their intermediate education, a chance to enlist themselves in our program. Through this program we offer education and training and at the completion of this 3 year program, they earn a certificate. Many graduates of this program go to abroad for better employment opportunities.

BM: Being a multinational and high-end brand, does the government provide you with the support and status that you require for growth?

AA: The automotive industry in any country is often considered to be the backbone of an economy due to the extensive web of forward and backward linkages that it has. In Pakistan this industry generates employment for above 3 million people. IMC’s contribution in the National exchequer alone exceeds 1%.

The biggest support from the government has been the announcement of the Automotive Development Policy 16-21. After a lot of efforts, the policy was finally drafted and implemented. However, we require further support of the government now in maintaining consistency in its policies and avoiding frequent changes. We also require the support of the government in backing a ‘Make in Pakistan’ national strategy to promote the local industry as much as possible.

BM: What benefits does one have with reference to international affiliations with regards to any brand and industrial sector?

AA: At Indus Motor Company we follow the ‘Toyota Way’, which is a comprehensive expression of the company’s management philosophy, which is based on the two foundational principles of Continuous Improvement (Kaizen) and Respect for People. The Toyota Production System implemented at Indus Motor Company is recognized worldwide for its effective and efficient practices. And through such international affiliations, organizations such as IMC get a chance to bring knowledge and technology into Pakistan.

IMC has spent more than 2 million training man-hours to date. These trainings around the Toyota Way help transfer principles learnt from our Japanese principle. At the moment IMC has 35 technical assistance agreements. These agreements link our parts suppliers to their international counterparts to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and technology. There is constant movement of employees amongst Pakistan, Japan and other Toyota hubs such as Singapore and Thailand facilitating the spread of knowledge.

BM: What role is the automobile industry playing on a whole in highlighting the skill and talent of our country?

AA: The automobile industry comes together annually at the Pakistan Auto Parts Show, which is the pioneering trade exhibition for the rapidly developing automotive aftermarket in Pakistan. The show is undisputedly the country’s largest gathering of leading auto parts suppliers and auto service providers from all over the country, covering the full range of motor vehicles parts. IMC enthusiastically participates in this auto show to promote indigenization.

Apart from this, employees of IMC frequently represent IMC at international skill competitions and win medals. Some examples of such competitions are the Asia Pacific Skill Contest, Toyota Global Quality Circle Convention, Body and Paint Competition, and Yokoten Competition. We are proud of our talented teams which represent us at international forums and hold the Toyota banner high.

BM: Do you think youngsters, with the craze of the developing automobile industry, change the paradigm for this industry?

AA: Talented youngsters are behind many breakthroughs today and can definitely contribute immensely to changing the landscape of the automobile industry as well. For this reason Indus Motor Company invests in acquiring the best engineering and business talent for its Management Trainee Program. We equip fresh graduates with the Toyota Principles and familiarize them with the challenges of the industry, encouraging a proactive approach to industry challenges.

Indus Motor Company often sponsors teams in competitions such as the Shell Eco Marathon, where the students are challenged to design, build and test energy-efficient cars, pushing the boundaries of what is technically possible. We believe that breakthroughs in environment-friendly technology are a potential way to change the landscape of the automobile industry in Pakistan.

BM: With the developing trends in the industry, where do you see the industry in Pakistan in the next few years?

AA: With the new auto policy finally in place, a lot of investment is being injected into the industry courtesy of the new and reputed brands entering the Pakistani market. The volume of 500,000 units per annum, projected in the new policy for 2025 would be achieved much earlier than expected. We welcome the new players entering the Pakistani market and believe that a “Make in Pakistan” national strategy will benefit our country.

There are a lot of challenges that need to be circumvented, so my role is about preparing the team for that. There is a lot of investment coming in, both in terms of the country and the industry itself, and we are preparing for what is to come in the future. Whatever happens, we want to maintain our strength and keep our leadership in the local market.” It is a bold ambition, but one that IMC can definitely drive towards.