Beatriz García, SEAT and CUPRA brands Purchasing Manager for Connectivity, Powertrain and Batteries for electric cars, commented that her responsibility covers as the vast majority of electronic elements of the vehicle as electrical elements such, for example, wiring.
“For several years we have been in an extremely difficult situation due to the accumulation of various crises since the pandemic and its consequences to the current situation in Ukraine. In addition, with the lack of semiconductors, the increase in the cost of raw materials and the energy crisis, it can be said that the people who work in supply chain management live in a perfect storm daily, overcoming as many complexities to save, as far as possible, our productions and deliver the final product to our customers”.
“Spanish industry and SEAT have done an excellent job in recent years and we have a lot of confidence for the future. In our case, we have also worked to bring the electric car to Spain, to Martorell and to Pamplona, and to transform the sector, designing the new ecosystem of the electric car”.
“For several years, car manufacturers and all our suppliers have been implementing containment measures and, at the same time, we are working on preventive measures for the future. We have learned a lot from these crises, how to understand the importance of further strengthening collaboration between all the actors in the value chain with the aim of strengthening automobile production”.
“We must improve our products and processes, to be much more flexible and resilient, and focus on improving our organisations and collaboration with our partners. Internally, we have increased, as far as possible, stocks of materials that are likely to be critical, such as electronic components. Working groups have also been created in the Volkswagen Group and also in SEAT in which we have worked on each electronic component, both buyers and those responsible for Logistics, Development, Commercial and Finance. We identify and calculate the times to solve the incidents, trying to find definitive solutions in some cases to implement them and focus on other new problems that may arise”.
“Internal decision processes have been optimized during the last years. These crises have taught us that we can be much more agile and flexible, also in decision-making processes, through daily meetings to analyse all the affected areas in the supply chain and we have learnt that solutions do not depend from one area and all we must collaborate as a team: among Purchasing, Logistics, Development, Commercial and Finance. Today we are more agile, and we will have to be even more”.
"Regarding the war in Ukraine, in the case of cabling for Central European plants of the Group, we have made a significant investment to double, in some cases, all the means to have an alternative in case of escalation of the conflict. This year, despite the war situation, we have continued to receive supplies from all plants in Ukraine, showing great courage on the part of Ukrainian workers. From the Volkswagen Group, we have continued to support the Ukrainian population so that they do not remain in a situation of helplessness, maintaining activity and trade with the country”.
"On the other hand, if before our sole interlocutor was Tier 1, now we understand that the problem is much more complicated and we participate in meetings and negotiations with Tier 2, 3, 4, because everyone's goal is to manufacture well, on time and generate business. The Purchasing work is arduous because we are really getting deep into the supply chain, which allows us to know a lot about the dynamics and problems in each specific case".
“This leads us to the importance of digitalisation to control in a transparent way the supply chain. At SEAT we have developed a tool in which we have incorporated most of our main suppliers and we want to continue integrating the suppliers of our suppliers in the future. Digitising the entire supply chain is the best way for everyone to know traceability and stock levels, through transparency and with a spirit of collaboration so that together we all know where we have to focus”.
“We are also working to bring suppliers closer to our factories. We are aware that it will be very difficult to locate all the components of the electric vehicle because we have a technological gap in certain electronic components. Despite this, we understand that we have to try to locate as much as possible for different reasons. First, to ensure the supply chain and, secondly, because we have to improve our carbon footprint. It would be absurd to go towards the green economy of the electric car, without the supply chain being aligned with this approach. With the projects for the new urban electric vehicles of SEAT and Volkswagen Group, the objective is focused on locating the largest number of parts in Spain and Portugal, as some elements also in Morocco, and we are seeing this in recent awards of tenders”.
“The perfect storm has taught us that we live in a world that we cannot control, depending on geopolitical and natural risks. So, we must have an open and also predictive mind with up-to-date knowledge of what is happening around our business in Purchasing and in the entire logistics chain”.
Presentation published in AutoRevista 2.375 issue
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