What Every Automotive Supplier Should Be Doing

Most of the automotive parts manufacturers we work with have a pretty efficient shop floor.  Lean manufacturing has its roots in the automotive industry and most OEMs and parts suppliers have been following lean practices for a long time.Automotive Supply

Where we see the biggest area of improvement is in the sales and engineering processes and planning for the future. From responding to the bid to rolling the first manufactured piece off the assembly line, to understanding what will work down the road (see what we did there).

To stay ahead of your competitors, automotive supplier CEO’s need to:

  1. Win more RFPs – With short bid windows and complex requirements, you must be able to react quickly and accurately to bid requests.  Using bid management software and bid response templates will enable you to keep track of parts, costs, vendors, and bid revisions. Being professional and efficient will help you win more bids.
  2. Improve sales forecasting – With production often far into the future, it’s critical to know when sales and payments will come. Multi-period forecasting can help you get a handle on cash flow and estimate accurate delivery dates to customers.
  3. Streamline the RFP bid response process – An over-reliance on spreadsheets and email communication creates a chaotic sales environment. “Which revision is the last revision? Has John reviewed this?” By building workflows with approval checkpoints and enforcing accountability in the process, you will be able to reduce the cost of sales.
  4. Create efficiencies in the post-sale engineering design process – The final product is often quite different than the original proposed concept.  Keeping track of the myriad of design and cost changes is a challenge. Having a solution that will manage change requests and ensure quality control makes for a smooth process from beginning to end.
  5. Enforce standards from sales to production – Manufacturers understand standardization. But with every sales situation being a little different, and without software to manage the processes, it can be difficult to enforce consistency.

OEMs Must Also Consider New Business Strategies and the Future

Successful OEMs and suppliers are employing several new business strategies to meet the demands of the new market.

First, they’re focusing on innovation over production. Many are reorganizing through mergers and acquisitions to acquire the knowledge, resources and talent needed to produce these new technologies. Tier 1 suppliers are also spinning off new divisions to focus on innovative products while divesting others.

It is also important to identify the most relevant trends for your company and business model(s). Some specific trends will have less or more impact on a particular company depending on its specific business but a company's trends will help them predict what to focus on for future years. Every company needs to develop a detailed road map for how to put the new strategies into action. As with every strategy implementation plan, this has to include well-defined targets and end products, clear responsibilities, and strong leadership commitment. 

By being able to increase efficiencies and reduce costs in your sales and program management areas, you’ll be able to boost your bottom line numbers. MCA Connect offers a D365 solution, AutoCONNECT, that covers all these areas of automotive manufacturing – and more.

Contact us today to learn more about Dynamics 365 or our tailored solution. Or if you want to discuss your 2020 vision and how you can accomplish those goals, we'd love to help you map out your journey. 

Author: Doug Bulla, VP of Business Development