Those in the automotive aftermarket looking for help through at least the short term of the ongoing supply chain disruption should be ready to dig in because there are too many issues going on at once, said an industry observer.
“In the immediate term, there probably is no quick fix,” according to Jeff Peterson, a director in the supply chain and manufacturing consulting practice at Baker Tilly.
The supply chain is going through challenges in logistics, suppliers who have been driven out of business over the course of the pandemic, which has constrained channels and labour issues affecting companies differently, from finding people to work in the industry to getting truck drivers to move product. There are too many hurdles for easy solutions, he noted.
“So in the very near term, there’s probably not a whole lot that can be done. It’s really just a matter of trying to hustle and do what you can to either find material, to find routes and lanes that are open that you can move product through, etc.,” he said during a roundtable discussion as part of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association Supply Chain Webinar Series.
The sentiment was echoed by Thomas A. Cook, managing director at Blue Tiger International, a supply chain management consulting agency that works with the U.S.-based Auto Care Association.
“We have no ability in the current state of the marketplace to eliminate all the problems,” he said during the webinar Reducing Risk and Spend in the Global Supply Chain: Challenges & Opportunities in Import and Export as part of the AAPEX October Webinar Series. “They’re just too vast and too great.”
But Peterson did have one key piece of advice for suppliers in these times. “Really taking a hard look at customers and customer segmentation and product line segmentation is probably one of the one of the most higher impact activities that could deliver some sort of results over the mid- to medium-term.”
That leads into some longer-term strategies. It’s important to understand who you customers are, what they’re buying, how much of your business they represent, how you should prioritize them and how you can service them.
“And the same thing on your product line: What’s really selling? What can you basically put on the back burner for a while because it consumes inputs and it consumes labor, and so on and so forth?” Peterson said.