Ford Motor Company’s Alisa Clemons says that with supply chains more affected by political issues, threats of war, and terrorism in recent years, it’s crucial that suppliers put plans in place to not only handle risk, but also alert their automotive customers of it much earlier.
“Suppliers are being exposed to a lot of risk, which in turn, they are exposing their customers to,” Clemons said in a video interview at AIAG’s 2016 Supply Chain Summit. “Most suppliers are not evaluating the risk factors and making sure that they are keeping their customers abreast of anything that could potentially cause the customer problems…They don’t look at the risk outside the four walls of their organization.”
AIAG’s Supply Chain Summit provides an annual overview of the latest industry trends as well as updates on current AIAG supply chain projects and initiatives. Clemons, a supplier performance specialist at Ford, gave a presentation at the Summit titled, “Expectations for Assessing Risk Between Tier One and Sub Tiers.” A 14-year veteran with Ford, Clemons’s responsibilities include Q1 MP&L endorsements, supplier delivery performance, supplier process improvements, and training for suppliers shipping to Ford’s North America production plants.
Clemons spoke about how as the global market continues to evolve, it becomes vitally important for Tier One suppliers to assess the potential supply chain risks their sub-tier suppliers cause not only to their own businesses but also to their customers. Because supply chains are becoming increasingly complex — with dependencies upstream, in-plant, and downstream — it is challenging for suppliers to assess which links in their supply chain might be most at risk and determine how to manage it.
“It’s becoming very problematic because they don’t know what’s coming at them, so then, of course, we’re blindsided, too,” she said. “I’d like to see suppliers become more aware of what is going on in the industry and in the world, and make sure that they have processes in place, the people trained, and a plan that they are continually adjusting as new risks or lessons-learned come about.”
Clemons urged Supply Chain Summit attendees to review what they learned at the Summit with their upper management and come up with a strategy to gain visibility of their suppliers and the risk these suppliers impose on them, making sure they are working to mitigate these risks. She said that AIAG has excellent training to help with identifying and mitigating risk, adding that many of the vendors exhibiting at the Summit were offering very good tools to help suppliers map their lower tier suppliers as well as best practices to mitigate risks.
“World events don’t always involve automotive, but they will affect automotive, so suppliers need to plan accordingly,” Clemons said. “Suppliers need to be prepared for everything.”
View highlights from the video interview with AIAG’s e-News editor Carla Kalogeridis and find out why Clemons believes that suppliers’ lack of identifying potential risks is “creating havoc in the supply chain.”