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AIAG VIDEO INTERVIEW - Courtin: ‘Sometimes Easier to Build a Railroad than to Get a Company to Change How it Does Business”

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Guy F. Courtin, a featured speaker at AIAG’s recent Mexico FVL Capacity 2020 Conference in Troy, Michigan, says the biggest automotive logistics problem in Mexico right now is a huge strain on its infrastructure capacity. With a significant amount of auto industry production going to Mexico — and more vehicles coming into the U.S. from Mexico — estimates are that by 2020, the volume could reach five million vehicles a year.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” says Courtin, vice president, industry & solution strategy, retail and fashion, for GT Nexus, an Infor Company. “It’s great that Mexico is ramping up and able to take on more automotive production, but now automakers are trying to figure out how to get their product out of Mexico and into the markets they want to get to.”

The finished vehicle and logistics conference was designed to address the auto industry’s Mexico challenge in a one-day forum that engaged attendees and experts in problem-solving for the good of the industry as a whole. “This was an inaugural event for finished vehicle logistics and for AIAG,” says Lang Ware, AIAG’s director, supply chain products and services. “The purpose was to bring the industry together to focus on a single important issue.”

In an exclusive video interview onsite at the conference with Carla Kalogeridis, AIAG’s eNews editor, Courtin emphasized that there’s no magic bullet to fix what is largely a physical problem. “The industry has to understand that the capacity in Mexico, the physical restraints, aren’t going to be resolved overnight,” he says. “So we have to start thinking about the network as a whole and looking at where we can be more flexible and work together.”

The situation is particularly challenging, he says, because being flexible and collaborative requires companies to start sharing information that they otherwise might not want to share. “You’re asking companies to think differently, asking them to take a chance,” Courtin says. “Sometimes it’s easier to muscle through a mountain and build a railroad than it is to get five people in a room to change the way they’ve done business for the past 50 years.”

View the video interview in its entirety and find out where Courtin believes AIAG and its members have an opportunity to make a difference.