TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Suppliers and automakers must build strong relationships now to help them get through a potential downturn in sales and production, a panel of executives said here today.
Tom Lake, vice president of purchasing for Honda North America, said transparency on both sides and boosting flexibility in manufacturing are key to sustaining a potential slowdown.
“Above all else, not if but when the situation changes, when there are shifts in the market, we want to have the relationship with our supply base that we can pick up the phone, we can go to their plant floor, we can understand what their constraints are, and we can work through those issues,” Lake said, speaking on a panel at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars here.
Some auto analysts and executives have warned of an approaching decline or plateau in new vehicle sales in the coming years following seven years of growth. Ford Motor Co., for instance, warned last week that the rest of the year could be “much weaker than normal” on softer U.S. demand.