To industry expert Laurie Harbour and others, the challenge that complicated the supply world more than any other in 2020 was the quest for talent.
The unexpected bounce back in vehicle demand that occurred during the pandemic could have been the return-to-normal moment that automakers and suppliers were hoping for — if only they could find enough people to do the work.
Instead, a lack of willing-and-able workers hobbled the supply base's return, said Harbour, CEO of the suburban Detroit auto manufacturing consultancy Harbour Results Inc.
The production cuts that caused revenue dips across the board at the industry's largest suppliers last year continue to be a factor in 2021.
"None of us could have predicted that we would have seen such a quick return to car sales," Harbour told Automotive News. "It drove this massive demand on suppliers — almost like shoving 100 pounds into a 50-pound bag — in the back half of the third quarter and fourth quarter."