More production means more cooperation with suppliers

By David Sedgwick
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

Published: January 21, 2013 1:05 pm ET
Updated: January 21, 2013 1:08 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Automotive
Companies & Associations Ford Motor Co., Visteon Corp.

DETROIT -- Rising production in North America has forced automakers to collaborate more closely with their suppliers. And suppliers, in turn, are reaching outside the auto industry to get help.

Four senior executives from Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Co., Visteon Corp. and Robert Bosch GmbH offered examples during a panel discussion today at the Automotive News World Congress.

Scott Kunselman, Chrysler Group's chief purchaser, says teams of Chrysler engineers are working closely with ten suppliers to improve their productivity. Chrysler is using Fiat's "World Class Manufacturing" system, which the Italian automaker introduced to Chrysler in 2009.

"It's very clear. We have demand that we can't fulfill," Kunselman said after the panel discussion. "We have become actively involved in the suppliers' processes."

"Involved" might be a diplomatic description. Kunselman's boss, CEO Sergio Marchionne, complained about Chrysler's production bottlenecks in an interview with Automotive News earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Ford is collaborating more closely with suppliers through its Aligned Business Framework program. Ford rewards companies that qualify for the program with global contracts.

Birgit Behrendt, Ford's executive director of global programs, said that suppliers in the program accounted for 65 percent of Ford's total purchasing budget last year. By working with a relatively small group of global suppliers, Ford can improve efficiency.

For example, the automaker's C platform, which underpins the Ford Focus, has spawned ten different models worldwide, Behrendt noted. Global suppliers account for 75 percent of the parts used in the Focus, she noted.

Ford also is getting results from its technology reviews, in which a team of senior Ford executives spend a day or two with one supplier to study its latest technology. The automaker holds about ten such meetings each year.

Ford's no-hands liftgate, lane-departure assist and active-parking assist all stemmed from these technical reviews, Behrendt said.

To speed up product development, suppliers are looking for help outside the auto industry.

At the CES show in Las Vegas, Visteon displayed a cockpit concept that showed how a variety of technologies could be integrated into a small, B-segment car interior. The cockpit was created with the aid of designers with consumer electronics backgrounds, said Visteon CEO Tim Leuliette.

"A lot of our people come from outside the industry," Leuliette said. "We have to have people who are used to a different tempo, because the industry is moving at lightning speed."


Comments

More production means more cooperation with suppliers

By David Sedgwick
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

Published: January 21, 2013 1:05 pm ET
Updated: January 21, 2013 1:08 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Smartphone work adds 52 percent to sales for China's Eva Precision

September 18, 2014 4:37 pm ET

Growth in supplying the smartphone and automotive industries helped Chinese processor Eva Precision Holdings Ltd. push injection molding sales up 52...    More

Image

Cascade Engineering founder Keller to step down as CEO

September 16, 2014 8:33 pm ET

Cascade Engineering Inc. is undergoing a transition as President Mark Miller will also add the role of CEO, replacing founder Fred Keller, who has...    More

Image

Canadian, Mexican injection molders form auto supply joint venture

September 16, 2014 2:26 pm ET

A new automotive parts manufacturer will open in Querétaro, Mexico, through a joint venture between Canadian automotive supplier Papp Plastics and...    More

Image

Increased capacity in the US helps Zeon Chemical supply seals globally

September 16, 2014 9:46 am ET

The automotive industry continues to be one of the driving forces of Zeon Chemicals LP., which specializes in heat-resistant and oil-resistant...    More

Image

ZF finalizes deal to buy TRW, creating another global auto supply giant

September 15, 2014 1:09 pm ET

TRW Automotive Holdings, in a supply chain megadeal that has been in the works since mid-July, said Sept. 15 it has agreed to be acquired by German su...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events