Four months ago, the North American auto industry braced for parts suppliers to collapse under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic—out of cash, drained of resources and unable to restart their crowded factories when the orders came.
But that didn’t happen.
Instead, industry leaders put their competitive nature aside to talk through what it would take to restart factories when the time came. Suppliers held meetings with other companies. They swapped information. They shared best practices and key learnings. And for one season, instead of focusing on sales opportunities, profit margins and competitive advantage, they talked about how to get the industry back on track, how to disinfect machine surfaces, how to keep workers safely distanced and how to rethink cafeterias.
“Suppliers were sharing their lessons learned on how they were able to find solutions,” said Shilpan Amin, vice president of purchasing and supply chain at General Motors. GM’s suppliers