When the coronavirus pandemic spread into North America, the auto industry — like many others — was forced to shut down almost completely, with the exception of emergency work to make medical equipment.
But so far, it has managed both the shutdown and the work of starting back up. Our sister paper Automotive News writes that to make it work, the industry had to create strong communication links between different companies in the supply chain.
"Suppliers were sharing their lessons learned on how they were able to find solutions," Shilpan Amin, vice president of purchasing and supply chain at General Motors Co., told AN. GM's suppliers allowed the automaker to share their operating ideas with other suppliers.
For resin supplier DSM Engineering Materials Inc., industry town halls provided perspective and planning help.
"When you have something so big and massive going down for eight weeks and then starting up bit by bit — trying to get a handle on that was extremely difficult," Mahoney said. "Being able to map where your product ends up is essential."
But don't write the "happily ever after" ending yet. Dietmar Ostermann, of consulting firm PwC, says many suppliers are still reeling. The industry still needs $20 billion in liquidity to stave off larger issues in the supply chain, Ostermann said.
Ostermann estimates that more than 30 suppliers in North America are distressed, or in the financial "danger zone."