Relationships between automakers and suppliers have been put to the test in recent months as parts makers feel intense financial pressure from inflation and material shortages.
Now some auto companies are moving to automate aspects of their parts purchasing processes in an attempt to allow their purchasing teams more time to manage increasingly complex supply chain issues.
Volkswagen is pushing for the "completely automated buying" of certain components, said Inga Von Seelen, chief procurement officer at VW Group of America. The company can set up approvals and target settings in advance, and those parts can then be "completely bought by a computer," she said.
"This is a huge opportunity for our people to focus on the right topics," Von Seelen told an audience last month in Michigan.