Amit Jain: A Visionary Leader In Automotive With 28 Years Of Industry Expertise


Amit Jain, ED & Group CTOAmit is a seasoned professional who has been in the automotive industry for more than 28 years, having played prominent roles in driving companies to greater heights. Currently, he is the Executive Director & Group Chief Technology Officer at Uno Minda, one of the largest automotive component suppliers in India.

Amit Jain engages in an exclusive interview with CEO Insights Asia wherein he talks about his professional journey and the technology roadmap of Uno Minda.

Amit, Give us a brief account of your professional journey so far.

Well, I've been in the automotive industry for more than 28 years. I've worked for Indian as well as global multinationals in manufacturing, engineering, sales and marketing, and other related functions. I started my career with Escorts, as a Graduate Engineer Trainee (GET). I spent a lot of my early career in manufacturing before joining Visteon Corporation, where I worked for over 16 years in electronics, interiors, climate control, and electrical products. I also led the electronics operation, where I worked on a range of electronics products as well as oversaw setting-up their green field facility and increasing their electronics business in India and the rest of Southeast Asia.

I joined Uno Minda five years back as the Chief Technology Officer. Within Uno Minda, I also established a new vertical in the electronics domain to primarily focus on new and emerging technologies and new product lines. After that, I moved into a more R&D consolidation role across the group. I oversee all technological and engineering initiatives within the organization. At Uno Minda, I'm also a member of the strategy and investment committees for all mergers and acquisitions (M& A) and strategic partnerships that Uno Minda enters, and thus accountable for the company's growth.

Could you enlighten us about Uno Minda's impact and presence across the Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing sector?

Uno Minda is currently a US $1.3 Billion revenue group with a 65-year legacy and is one of India's leading automotive component suppliers, working across all segments, including two-wheelers, three-wheelers, commercial vehicles, and passenger vehicles. We work across various vehicle segments and provide new technologies to OEMs. We have also grown in terms of acquisitions and joint ventures, with over 13 joint venture partners, enabling us to localize many products for OEMs here. Over time, all these joint venture partners have been able to support the augmentation of Uno Minda's manufacturing capabilities with international best practices and have helped us bring all of the latest global technologies in auto components to our clients cost-effectively and robustly.

Could you dive deeper into your contributions toward improving the efficiency and comfort levels of the company's innovative products?

When I joined the company five years ago, the group's engineering and research and development team was very fragmented. There were essentially small engineering teams spread across different businesses we had, each focusing on a particular product line. The depth of engineering and technology expertise at each business was concentrated solely on that single product line. At the same time, a shift was happening in the component technology landscape with rapid progress towards the electronification of all our products, with more electronic content increasing in each vehicle and many Uno Minda products having to be transformed from traditional mechanical/electro-mechanical based products to electronic/ mechatronic products. This also necessitated a closer integration of competencies such as hardware, software, and firmware across the company. So that's how we essentially began this engineering center called CREAT (Center for Research, Engineering and Advance Technologies). CREAT works in close collaboration with other entities of the Uno Minda group as well as external technology providers. Over the past four years, CREAT's primary aim has been to bring new competencies and new technologies to Uno Minda at a group level. The additional goal of CREAT was to develop new product lines in emerging segments like Electric Vehicles (EV) and invest in new technologies like ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and a gamut of Connected Vehicle technologies (V2X) creating new revenue streams for Uno Minda. The CREAT center also leads innovation processes for the group along with initiatives like skill, and competency enhancement promoting self-reliance and technology leadership.

What are the future market opportunities that Uno Minda plans to tap into and what will be the kind of developments to expect in the future?

We have been highly focused on what we call the PACE strategy at Minda. PACE stands for Personalization, Autonomous, Electrification, and Connectivity. These are the four pillars upon which we develop new products and see most new opportunities emerge.

On the Personalization front, we believe that in the future, people will regard the car as the third living place beyond home and work. Hence, I believe this is one area where many products based on personalization will arise like Wireless Chargers, Displays, Infotainment Systems, Climate Controlled Seats, and more. The second is the Autonomous future, which is where vehicles with ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) will come into play.

As a result, we are investing our research efforts into developing components like cameras, radars, and ultrasonic sensors for various autonomous and safety features. The third pillar is Electrification. We already have several new products for electric 2W, 3W & 4Wheelers. We are currently doing work on the low voltage electrification side, 48 volts, 96 volts architectures, and working on a product like chargers, motor controllers, DC-DC converters, wall mount chargers, and more. Finally, there is the fourth pillar - Connectivity. On the connectivity front, we're focusing on the connectivity required for electric vehicles, fleet management, and shared mobility, among others. We provide an end-to-end solution on connectivity, beginning with the Telematic Control Unit (TCU) and continuing with the cloud-based solution for data capture and analysis and end-applications. Thus, our whole market opportunity is centered on these four critical PACE trends.

Amit Jain, ED & Group CTO

Amit is an accomplished expert with 28 years of experience in the automotive industry. He has a strong educational background with an Engineering degree from R V College in Bangalore and an Advanced Management Program from IIM Bangalore. Prior to joining UNO MINDA, Amit was associated with Visteon Corporation as it's Country Head ­ Electronics.

Hobbies: Carpentry, Painting, and Reading books

Favorite Books: What got you here will not get you there by Marshall Goldsmith, and 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen. R.Coveyi, and Your brain at work by Dr. David Rock.

Favorite Cuisines: Italian

Favorite Travel Destination: Bali

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