Friday, 31 July 2020 10:28

Four Automotive Supply-Chain Problems, and How to Fix Them

Written by Rob Bailey, Wards Auto


Since manufacturers shared little to no forecast data, product availability ceased, as well as insufficient infrastructure to distribute and sell the products.


Also, the demand for personal protection equipment made it even more difficult for paint and body shops to acquire proper N95 masks and other protective gear. While these businesses still needed to function, the lack of data was crippling.


There was limited to no knowledge on availability, and scarce information on whether PPE products met safety standards. Many companies were struggling to know, “Is this N95 mask that we received from a different source really safe for a paint shop?”


Understand the industry’s critical role in the economy


For a time, there was uncertainty on whether automotive-parts stores would be considered essential businesses.


This confusion stalled product orders, which caused a ripple effect upstream to manufacturers.


As maintaining emergency vehicles became glaringly clear, auto-parts stores were finally deemed essential. But, the limited and siloed information about product availability continued to delay parts orders.


Moreover, the political challenges with tariffs and restricted imports of goods exacerbated the limited transparency on where to acquire automotive products and whether they met specification requirements.


So, what now?


It boils down to needing collaborative data for a vital supply chain. The automotive industry is littered with siloed operations, some of which still rely heavily on technology and processes from the 1980s. That’s 40 years ago!


Even newer systems that were activated by more innovative manufacturers and distributors had rules and configurations based around siloed operations. The lack of data-sharing and collaboration between systems and supply-chain partners dealt a powerful blow to the automotive industry.


Clearly, the automotive industry is not immune to this crisis. Having one of the most complex supply chains in the world, the auto industry also is one of the most susceptible to disruption.


The fragility of the automotive supply chain has been problematic for decades, but COVID-19 exposed and worsened this issue. 


Our collective global supply chain disruption makes it clear that the time to bring transparency and efficiency is now.


Rob Bailey is CEO and founder of BackboneAI, an intercompany data-automation platform.


We thank Wards Auto for reprint permission. 

« Previous Page Continue reading