All In A Day's Work: On the road to success
Written by Susie Gyopos
Helping develop the automotive business, based purely on local know-how, is what makes life exciting for You Yi, vice-president of Zhejiang Geely Automobile Research Institute, the technical centre of Geely Automobile Holdings.
I'm an engineer and I graduated from the Jilin University of Technology in mainland China, majoring in internal combustion engines. Before I joined Geely Automobile, I worked for a German engineering company as a technical manager, working on engine and engine-testing system development.
I joined Geely about six months ago. At the research institute, I'm responsible for engine, transmission, electrical and electronic systems production development - the main components and systems of cars.
I start the day by reading e-mails for about 20 minutes. Then, I go to the company's automatic office system to approve internal work processes.
I then review technical agreements. For each component, we need to sign commercial and technical contracts.
My main work covers production development. We handle the product management system and it takes me a lot of time to do project reviews. I also attend product review meetings for different projects to check the development schedule and any problems that may arise, and evaluate potential risks.
My company has a 10-year history, so we don't have much technical experience and our technical ability isn't as strong when compared with foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Volkswagen or General Motors from Europe or the United States.
As a result, we have to work very hard to keep pace with the latest developments and this is a big challenge.
The Chinese market is growing so quickly that, as a local OEM, we need to put more effort into reaching our target market and achieving sales. I'm in charge of 120 staff at the Institute, but there are not enough engineers. I'm responsible for more than 10 projects which involve power-train system production, and we need more experienced engineers.
Lots of foreign OEMs and components suppliers are in China and they also need more engineers and, because of staff shortages, all our engineers work six-day weeks, including myself.
We also need to increase our technical ability, so we need younger engineers to train. And we need to set up more testing systems. Therefore we must obtain more equipment for testing vehicles and components.
Nowadays, I am involved in managing the department and production development. For this work, you need to have a technical background.
My company is the only private company in the mainland that is in the top 10 OEMs in the automotive industry and this achievement provides me, and the people who work here, with lots of opportunities for career advancement. Many automotive companies in the mainland are joint ventures, but at Geely Automobile, we develop our own cars. This makes it exciting and satisfying.