Crisis management is about improving communication and process stability | New
Coming out of the global coronavirus pandemic has not been easy in any country, but as Mexico’s auto sector tries to seize the opportunities of North American trade agreements and legislation, its key players are caught in a fast-paced game of catch-up .
At the conference last week, Siegfried Jung, vice president of production control, production system and logistics at the BMW Group plant in San Luis Potosi, said the effects of the pandemic were undeniable and continuous.
“We were hit very hard, especially at the start of the year,” he said, identifying one crisis in particular as the defining one for 2022.”[With] the semiconductor situation our prognosis horizon is up to ten days. That’s it.”
Jung said the company was in the same situation as its suppliers, who expected longer forecasts. The information on the offer just isn’t there though.
“Looking forward to next year, we clearly expect this situation to continue in the semiconductor market,” Jung said. “We don’t foresee any easing, especially not in the first half. And with that, we know exactly that our main challenge for next year will be to stay or even become more flexible in terms of demand.
Stability through collaboration
Francisco Bravo Gómez, senior director of supply chain for Audi Mexico, agreed with Jung that the only certainty going forward was instability and that the semiconductor situation was unlikely to improve in the future. short term.
“I think [the only stability] is how we handle this crisis because [they] are not going to go away,” Gómez said. “The bumps in the way will keep coming and we don’t even know what’s going to be next.”
He said process stability, greater flexibility and closer collaboration with partners were the way to handle the current semiconductor situation and any future issues facing the industry. “The way we react, the processes we have put in place, is what wins stability across the world,” Gómez concluded.
Fabio Garcia, after-sales service manager for Volkswagen Truck and Bus México, said ensuring maximum uptime was always a challenge. “We have to be very careful with our stock, our parts.”
He said it was important to prioritize parts that warranted fleet maintenance and that meant being proactive in identifying those that were more likely to need replacing based on the age and kilometers traveled by the truck. However, he said the accuracy of this predictive strategy has been affected by the disruption to fleets during the pandemic. Volkswagen has seen truck and bus after-sales services drop by 80% during Covid shutdowns.
Communication and not micromanagement
Garcia said communication with dealers was key in trying to manage the unknowns. It was also key to resolving issues with service providers and suppliers, according to Gómez.
“Communication is the most important topic right now…because our suppliers know their own process, they know what’s going on and if they have a problem,” Gómez said. “As long as we receive the information in time, we have [more chances] react and the range of options available to us is wider.
Gómez acknowledged that greater transparency down to level n is every logistician’s dream, but he said that wish could become a burden. Improved communication should not lead to the need for management by the OEM.
“We don’t want to manage our vendors, or manage our Tier 2 vendors,” he said. “We don’t want to manage service providers. That’s why we have partnerships, because you know your business better than we do.
What the Mexican automotive industry needs is better two-way communication, as well as faster feedback to support more proactive management of whatever happens around the next bend.