Supplier relationships with auto makers appeared to have worsened in 2018.
At least that's what one major barometer—The Working Relations Index Study by Planning Perspectives Inc.—concluded in May, stating that five of the six major auto makers earned lower marks from their supply chains.
Toyota Motor Co. was the only OEM to improve from 2017, albeit slightly, while Honda only dropped nine points compared to its 2018 rating—and was the only other OEM to score at least 300 points.
Planning Perspectives President John Henke said in May one big reason for the decline in 2018 was that auto makers let supplier relations loosen as they cope with new business pressures like electric and autonomous vehicles, while bracing for a slew of nontraditional competitors entering their industry.
Ford Motor Co. fell to its lowest standing in nine years—a 250 score, the lowest cutoff for "adequate"—and General Motors Co. posted a setback after making a focused effort to improve those relations during the last three years with management changes and new policies.
GM did get a piece of good news: Steve Kiefer, the firm's vice president for global purchasing and supply chain, was No. 1 in terms of "working to build more trusting relations." GM's buyers tied for the top with Toyota's on the same issue.
Both Fiat Chrysler and Nissan North America received a "very poor" rating, as FCA's score dropped for the fifth straight year and Nissan continued its plunge toward the bottom, posting its fourth straight decline at 182, the first score of less than 200 since 2010.
Poor supplier relations are costing OEMs hundreds of millions of dollars, according to Henke, translating GM's decline in the survey to about $600 million of missed profits.
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