2022 ALL STAR | PURCHASING
Group vice president, purchasing supplier development, Toyota Motor North America
From his perch near Ann Arbor, Mich., Bob Young has spent the last several years jumping on the first sign of trouble within Toyota’s extensive supplier network to keep the automaker’s 15 assembly and component plants in North America running. With no slack in the system and no room for error, it’s been a veritable tightrope every day to keep vehicles flowing out of factories and on to U.S. dealership lots.
“The first sign of a hiccup is very close to causing us problems,” Young, 55, told Automotive News in March. And yet, the assembly lines largely kept running, and when they didn’t, the issues were coming out of Japan and beyond his control.
To really understand how vital Young has been during microchip shortages and supplier interruptions, look no further than former Toyota sales head Bob Carter. Carter credits Young and his team in Ann Arbor for making it possible for the Japanese automaker to grab the U.S. sales crown from General Motors in 2021 — the first time another automaker has been on top in 90 years.