Automation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) are radically reshaping automotive supply chain management. Even at the best of times, automotive has been a challenging sector and it’s only becoming more complex with the move towards smart, connected vehicles. Each vehicle requires such a vast number of parts that an automaker will only handle some directly, most of which are subassemblies. For instance, Ford manages and purchases “only” 1,800 parts directly. These subassemblies each entail numerous individual parts and rely on their own complex supply chain.
As author Yossi Sheffi notes in his latest book The Magic Conveyor Belt , “General Motors refers to this worldwide dance of material handling and bustling assembly lines that somehow turns out completed vehicles as the daily miracle”. Over the past four decades, Sheffi has frequently conducted consulting work for GM and heard numerous people in logistics and transportation make this comment. As well as writing several books on supply chain management, he serves as Professor of Engineering Systems and Director of the Centre for Transportation and Logistics at MIT. Drawing on his expertise in systems optimisation, risk and resilience, Sheffi sits down with Automotive World to share both advice and predictions for automotive players as they position their supply chain management strategy for the challenges of future mobility.