Creating the 21st Century Automotive Supply Chain: Complexity #2 - Instilling uncompromised quality and safety through collaboration

automotive manufacturing

July 22, 2020By Peter Maithel

The demand for quality in automotive manufacturing remains a constant theme, and ISO standards have been a key driver for the automotive industry for over 20 years. BSI Group defines ISO/TS 16949 as, “the globally recognized quality management standard for the automotive industry. It provides a framework for achieving best practice with regards to the design and manufacture of products for the automotive supply chain.”

With growing complexity introduced by increasingly global supply chains, a greater need for strong quality processes and risk management exists to ensure quality and safety are at the forefront of every decision.

This complexity reinforces the critical need to build trusted, global supply networks, integrate strong testing and QA into the manufacturing process, and implement clear risk management systems. As history has shown, quality control issues resulting in a recall can be devastating to an automotive manufacturers’ financials and brand reputation.

One example of this is Toyota’s 4 million vehicle recall due to faulty accelerator pedals from 2009-2011. The devastating recall was the direct result of aggressive overseas production, leading to a growing supplier base. The introduction of new suppliers, with whom Toyota lacked deeply rooted relationships created quality control issues and cost the company billions.

Perhaps the most visible example in recent history is the Volkswagen emissions scandal that required all turbo diesel cars to be recalled and resulted in executives receiving prison sentences. On top of the tangible costs equating billions of dollars, their brand has endured severe damage and a massive loss of consumer trust.

Adding to complexity of automotive supply chains is the fact quality becomes a much larger challenge as the demand for innovative features creates new quality assurance processes and testing scenarios. However, having effective collaboration tools in place allows manufacturers to extend processes requirements across their complex supply network to enforce the use of quality assurance applications and empower quality managers to digitize processes, standardize audit types, rapidly identify potential issues, and capture performance data for immediate analysis.

It is important to reiterate, that implementing strong supplier requirements and evaluation tools, including scorecards to manage risk, cost, co-innovation, is key. Additionally, as automakers continue to utilize widely-adopted quality testing standards, including APQP, MMOG, revision control, and quality management systems (QMS) to ensure their supplier base is performing to the highest standards, supplier quality emerges as a strategic lever to drive competitive advantage.

To learn more about how automotive manufacturers and suppliers can ensure quality and safety compliance from their trading partners, download the comprehensive 21st Century Automotive Supply Chain best practices guide.

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