PLYMOUTH, Mich.—Automotive manufacturers are only as strong as their weakest supplier. If one firm in the chain breaks, the results can delay vehicle production and affect the bottom line.
Supplier development is critical in the ongoing relationship between automotive parts manufacturers and their original equipment manufacturer customers. And according to a recent survey by Planning Perspectives, the U.S.-based OEMs have some catching up to do while Japanese firms Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. lead the way.
“There are a number of ways supplier development can be done. A lot of that is focused on the longer-term relationship, and it is driven more by taking costs out of the system than trying to drive the price down,” said Dave Andrea, senior vice president of industry analysis and economics for the Original Equipment Suppliers Association.
“There is no room for error in any of this. You have to treat all of your suppliers with the same kind of attention. Any one of them, the largest of them or the smallest of them, can get you off rail really quick. Without a doubt the smaller of the suppliers are going to be brought up with the quality, delivery and productivity, with the rest of the supply base in terms of development.”
It's one of the reasons General Motors Co. established the One Cost Model—a new purchasing program where the OEM will grant suppliers who agree to the procedure contracts for the life of the vehicle. In exchange, GM doesn't seek bids from other suppliers.
Automotive News, a sister publication to Rubber & Plastics News, reported that GM will update its cost analysis each year to see whether or not suppliers can cut costs through more efficient production. Suppliers gain earlier access into vehicle programs, and GM can develop more realistic cost analysis for those programs.