UAW Strike and the Automotive Industry: Supply Chain Insights

UAW Strike and the Automotive Industry: Supply Chain Insights

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In this bonus episode of the ALP podcast, Jan Griffiths delves into a pivotal moment in the automotive industry as the UAW (United Auto Workers) calls for a strike across the three major American OEMs: Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis. This historic event highlights the significant challenges that supply chain leaders and CEOs within the automotive sector are currently facing. Jan sets the stage for this critical day in automotive history, emphasizing the urgent need for strategic responses to address the disruptions rippling through the supply chain.

Joining Jan are industry experts Tor Hough, CEO of ELM Analytics, and Sig Huber, Chief Commercial Officer for ELM Analytics. Together, they engage in a comprehensive discussion about the essential steps required to prepare for and effectively manage such disruptive situations. The conversation revolves around key aspects, including the critical role of gathering timely and accurate data about suppliers, enhancing supply chain resilience through design and relationships, and the analysis of the five pillars of risk: liquidity, labor, parts, demand, and transportation.

Moreover, the episode underscores the paramount importance of transparent communication with the supply base, the cultivation of trust, and proactive planning for financial risks and startup challenges in the event of prolonged disruptions. As the automotive industry grapples with uncertainty during the ongoing strike, this episode equips supply chain leaders and CEOs with valuable insights to navigate the complex landscape of supply chain disruptions successfully.

Themes discussed in this episode:

  • Automotive industry disruptions
  • Supply chain risk management
  • Financial vulnerabilities of suppliers
  • Importance of Communication and Trust
  • Strategies and Countermeasures
  • Pillars of Supply Chain Resilience

Featured Guest: Tor Hough

What he does: Tor Hough is the CEO of ELM Analytics. Tor is fervently committed to elevating data quality standards in the industry while catalyzing business change, transformation, and growth.

Featured Guest: Sig Huber

What he does: Sig Huber serves as the Chief Commercial Officer at ELM Analytics, bringing a wealth of expertise in supplier risk management spanning over 25 years. With a distinguished career at both FCA (now Stellantis) and Toyota, Sig has demonstrated exceptional leadership in guiding supplier risk management teams to success.

Episode Highlights:

[03:27] Data Gathering: The importance of gathering accurate and timely data about suppliers, especially in the sub-tier levels of the supply chain, to understand vulnerabilities.

[10:06] Navigating Supply Chain Vulnerability and Building Resilience: Sig and Tor dive into the automotive supply chain's vulnerabilities amid disruptions like COVID and the UAW strike. They emphasize the importance of timely data, supplier financial health, and strategies for bolstering resilience, including supply chain design and robust supplier relationships.

[14:15] Proactive Planning for Supply Chain Resilience: Sig delves into best practices for bolstering supply chain resilience. They emphasize the need for proactive planning to mitigate financial risks and navigate startup challenges during prolonged disruptions.

[15:27] Effective Crisis Leadership, What Leaders Should Do Now: Sig Huber, Tor Hough, and Jan Griffiths share invaluable insights into leadership during supply chain crises. Learn about the significance of clear communication, crisis management teams, building trust with the supply base, and maintaining strong relationships. Gain actionable advice for leaders in the automotive industry facing disruptions like the UAW strike.

[24:25] Five Pillars of Risk: Analyzing the five pillars of risk—liquidity, labor, parts, demand, and transportation—and the significance of addressing each pillar during supply chain disruptions.

[27:22] Financial Risk and Authentic Leadership: Sig discusses the financial risks impacting suppliers, stressing the need to identify and prioritize vulnerable ones. Jan emphasizes the importance of authentic leadership when dealing with financially challenged suppliers.

Top Quotes:

[14:18] Tor: "The design of your supply chain matters greatly. The type of part that you're manufacturing and who you're using to manufacture that can have a big impact on how you respond to events."

[15:13] Tor: “Gathering the data to understand where your suppliers are is important. And in both preparing for it, and then understanding what you need to do to respond once the event occurs.”

[17:51] Sig: “If it's a few weeks, I think that the industry will be okay. If it drags out beyond six weeks, I think it's going to be a different situation.”

[18:52] Tor: “That trust relationship allows you to get ahead of the problem, identify where the weaknesses are, and then put in countermeasures.”

[29:38] Jan: “When you identify a supplier with some financial weakness, please do not go in there with a baseball bat and aggressive tactics and show how tough you are and that you're going to make the supplier perform what is quite possibly the impossible. Please go in there with a nurturing, coaching supportive approach.”