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

Automakers look under the hood for the next lightweighting opportunities

August 20, 2014 1:06 pm ET

The automotive industry's current favorite target for lightweighting efforts is the powertrain, according to a recent survey.    More

Image

Cooper-Standard JV to focus on Asia

August 20, 2014 10:17 am ET

Cooper Standard Automotive Inc. is forming Cooper Standard Inoac Pte. Ltd. — a joint venture with Inoac Corp. of Japan — to expand the...    More

Image

Ohio molder sold to private equity firm

August 19, 2014 5:23 pm ET

Private equity firm TVV Capital of Nashville has acquired injection molder Design Molded Plastics Inc. for an undisclosed price.    More

Image

Germany's Bolta building $50 million plating plant in Alabama

August 19, 2014 2:21 pm ET

A German company is setting up a plastics chrome plating plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala.    More

Image

RTP expands very long fiber thermoplastic production to Mexico

August 19, 2014 9:47 am ET

RTP Co. has introduced very long fiber reinforced compounds at its Monterrey, Mexico, facility.    More

Market Reports

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

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

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

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

More Events