Plante Moran study: Auto suppliers in dark on EV plans

The study captures North American automaker-supplier relations as parts makers navigate financial pressures stemming from inflation, unstable automaker production schedules, the shortage of microchips and rising interest rates.

Those pressures, which began in late 2019 with the onset of COVID-19 and the UAW’s strike at GM, have tested relations between suppliers and their customers.

Suppliers said there needs to be greater and more timely communication and transparency on short-term supply chain disruptions and on any changes in forecasting, Plante Moran reported. And it was found that many parts companies are frustrated by what they see as a disconnect between what automakers’ management says and what their front-line purchasers ultimately do.

According to the suppliers surveyed, relationships would improve if automakers made it a priority to ensure their purchasing, engineering, manufacturing and quality teams were all aligned — even when electrification and parts shortages made things more difficult, Andrea said.

“We always think of purchasing as an external conduit to the world, but they’re an internal conduit, too,” he said, “in terms of getting the right people in place to solve these issues.”