For purchasers, there's no shortage of shortages

Now that assembly plants are ramping up production, car company purchasing chiefs are scrambling to get all the parts they need.

Example: Chrysler's Windsor minivan plant is running short of body controller modules -- a problem caused by the electronics industry's chronic shortage of computer chips. That problem should clear up in two or three months, says Chrysler purchasing chief Dan Knott.

But he's still trying to figure out how to get enough premium tires for his minivans and other vehicles. And that headache won't clear up in the next few months.

In a recent interview, Knott jokingly compared his job to Whack-A-Mole: As soon as one component shortage eases, another one pops up.

Chrysler and the other automakers will figure out how to boost production, but I'm betting Knott isn't the only purchaser who's playing Whack-A-Mole.

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