Push for cost reduction means quality suffers


It seems like every week we hear of another recall of several hundred thousand vehicles for some defect or another. You would think after spending the last 100 years+ building cars that we'd have it down. From my vantage point as someone who studies manufacturing religiously (it is a kind of religion to me), every time there's another recall I wonder: did the low bidder get that job?

Now IHS SupplierBusiness has completed its 2014 Automotive Annual Supplier Relations Study (www.supplierbusiness.com], and it seems they have found what most of us were already thinking: "Quality suffers as OEMs put pressure on costs, 2014 IHS Supplier Relations Study finds," is the headline of their executive summary of the study. "OEMs pushing the boundaries of cost reduction," reads the sub-head.

Here's a news flash for all of you who deal with the automotive industry every day: "Cost reduction was cited as the key factor in deteriorating supplier relations." The survey results also show OEMs are not always willing to share these desired savings in a collaborative spirit. Gee! Have I heard that before? Like maybe 20 or 15 or 10 years ago? "Expanded product liability guarantees and a greater financial burden in the event of recalls are among the other concerns that are affecting suppliers' perception of their Profit Potential with the OEMs," states the summary.
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