My company is a supplier of automotive components. Out largest customer is a major Tier 1 and most of the products we supply them end up in General Motors’ vehicles.
American Axle, a supplier of axles and other metal components to GM, has been on strike since February 26. Almost every GM US plant that manufactures trucks and SUV’s has been idled since the strike began. This week it is reported that the first car plants will be affected. Over 13,000 GM workers are idled and I believe that several times that amount have been impacted down the supply chain.
On Friday, March 28th we received an email from our Tier 1 client. She had sent us the email that had several preceding emails still attached.. I will start with the oldest email in the string. It was from one GM employee to another. Basically, it stated that GM would be attempting to recover the lost volume from the strike by working increased schedules and overtime starting in late April. The writer asked about feasibility of the supply base responding to this increased demand and inquired if there was anything he could do to help.
The next email was from a GM Launch Manager to their supply base (i.e. our customer). This email restated what was said in the first email and provided some more detailed information that would assist the Tier Ones’ in responding. It also asked the Tier One (our customer) to assess their capabilities of meeting the new demand level and to communicate any issues that may prevent their ability to supply the requested volumes.
I would characterize the tone of these emails as collaborative and supportive. The writers wanted to know if there would be problems and if so, what they could do to help.
And then the next email was from our customer to us (and their other suppliers). It stated that there may be increased volumes in the near future and despite the fact that the demand may exceed the capacity of the manufacturing systems, any failure to supply on our part would result in financial penalty to us. That is all. It was very short and very to the point.
From collaborative and supportive to adversarial and threatening.
In other news today it was reported that