The automotive industry is entering a period of calm before the storm, according to Evolution Time Critical, a Europe-based automotive emergency logistics specialist. Production traditionally slows as the summer shutdown period approaches, but this can herald a complex and testing period for its supply chain. While shutdowns may represent the quietest periods of automotive production, they can also raise the most troublesome problems that require expert knowledge to overcome.
“The hardest problems to counter often emerge during summer shutdowns, partly due to the skeleton staff operated by the industry during this period – premium freight and emergency logistics expertise are vital provisions to ensure that previously robust supply chain links are not fractured, or production restart jeopardised,” explains Evolution Time Critical managing director, Brad Brennan. “During the period around shutdowns, demand for Evolution Time Critical’s services peak immediately before and after, as vehicle manufacturers and their OEMs aim to optimise inventory levels and then, once production has resumed, bridge any potential shortages in their supply chain. Issues during shutdown can be exacerbated by reduced access to stocks, locations and manufacturers’ in-house expertise.”
2016 has been a hectic year for automotive production, with time contraction and a greater number of new model launches placing increased pressure on the supply chain to adapt. Summer shutdowns provide an opportunity for suppliers to catch up and reinvigorate the supply chain, and also offer an essential window for production relocation, tooling repair or replacement.
“We have worked with vehicle manufacturers to safeguard production around the shutdown period, helping to analyse supply lines and identify potential difficulties,” continues Brennan. “If stocks are prepared and manufacturers ready, the shutdown period provides a window of opportunity for the automotive industry beyond simply stopping for breath. However, problems can be increasingly difficult to overcome so it is vital that manufacturers and their suppliers prepare well for the period of reduced activity.
“We have carried out a range of innovative projects during past shutdowns, from time-critical shipment of tooling, ultra-time sensitive deliveries and movement of production between continents,” he concludes. “The automotive industry is now acknowledging the production benefits of supply chain clarity, and proactively managing operations with a third party expert such as Evolution Time Critical.