Dec 15/23

3 Must-Have Program Management Skills in the Automotive Industry


The automotive industry is a competitive one, so it takes a lot to stay ahead. As a program manager, you have a lot of responsibility.

All industries require program management, but the specifics of it vary from field to field. Without effective management, an automotive business is likely to crumble.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the key program management skills you should have to be successful in the automotive industry. Keep reading for more.

1. Leadership

Throughout all industries, leadership is one of the most vital project management skills there is. People will look to you for guidance, so you need to be able to lead from the front.

program manager is responsible for orienting the actions of their team. They should keep everyone moving towards the same goals while helping them with any challenges that arise. With solid leadership skills, a program manager will yield several benefits:

  • Strong, collaborative teams
  • A successful workplace
  • Shared visions
  • Increased productivity
  • Effective communication
  • Integrated approaches to project strategy

Trackable metrics can show these benefits in action. All of them will help foster a better work environment and will keep things on track in terms of business goals.

2. Technical Ability

This isn’t overly important in some lines of work but it’s vital when it comes to automotive manufacturing. Soft skills can be very helpful, but the best program leaders will possess a range of hard skills. These include:

  • Program scheduling
  • Strategic planning
  • Subject matter expertise
  • Project life cycle management
  • Agile software
  • Financial modeling
  • Lean thinking
  • Budgeting

There are several other hard skills that a program manager can possess. These take time to learn, so the more experience you have, the better prepared you’re likely to be.

It’s worth bearing in mind that while these skills are often transferrable between industries, that’s not always the case. Subject matter expertise, for example, is industry-specific. Budgeting, on the other hand, is often quite similar in different industries.

3. Risk, Time, and Team Management

Ideally, you always want to keep risk to a minimum, but there are always variables that make this difficult. A skilled project manager can identify risks and assess their severity. They can then reduce risk in various areas.

Almost all projects are time-sensitive, so good time management is vital. A program manager will set out a plan for any project and ensure it’s followed so that deadlines are met without issue.

A company’s most valuable resource is its employees. Smooth business operations rely on a cohesive team that understands what its goals are and how to reach them. Program managers should be able to manage their teams effectively, making the best use of individual strengths and keeping everyone working towards the same goal.

The Importance of Program Management Skills

Without leaders who possess the right program management skills, an automotive business is likely to struggle. Program managers should be able to guide teams toward business goals, manage projects, and keep risk to a minimum while avoiding delays or other problems.

On top of managing business operations, your organization needs to be able to source the best parts available. Mayco International is a global Tier 1 automotive supplier with over 17 years of experience across 9 countries. So, take a look at our services to find out more about how we can help your business.