As one of AIAG’s recently appointed board members, Dr. Jeffrey Richards, global director production control, logistics, and supplier quality for Delphi, says he will work on developing standards to improve the quality and performance of supply chain processes.
More than 20 executives from the automotive and transportation OEM and supplier community currently serve on the AIAG board, representing a cross-section of its member companies.
“Instead of many individuals trying to solve similar problems in our industry, AIAG supports the supply chain, creates standards and guidelines, and helps onboard new suppliers to the industry’s best practices,” says Richards, who has been involved with AIAG for over 15 years. “Delphi has seen the considerable value of supporting AIAG’s collaborative initiatives instead of individual groups trying to do this work on their own.”
Richards — who has held numerous leadership positions in supply chain management, quality, production control and logistics, and engineering for Delphi and General Motors — has responsibility for all logistics execution, network design, sourcing, and warehousing globally. In addition, he owns the production control operating systems used at more than 126 manufacturing sites globally as well as inventory management and practices. He leads supplier quality and advanced quality for more than 6,000 supplier sites that ship over 80 billion parts to Delphi every year.
Richards has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from General Motors Institute, a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon, and a doctorate in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon. He has spent his entire career with General Motors and Delphi.
Drawing on his extensive supply chain experience, Richards will help AIAG duplicate for supply chain operations what it has accomplished in quality. “AIAG has been very successful and focused on quality standards and has produced the industry standard process for launching quality products,” Richards says. “But in logistics, supply chain, and inventory management, those standards aren’t as fully developed. I would like to see us define the same roles and standards for supply chain that we have so successfully implemented for quality.”
The automotive industry has established clear signposts for suppliers to address quality and product development challenges, he points out. “In quality, there are systems and processes in place that have everyone’s attention, that suppliers know they cannot proceed without. But in supply chain, there’s not that one-time, definable sign-off that tells a company all supply chain expectations have been met.”
During his tenure on the AIAG board, Richards will work with colleagues to create buy-in for supply chain standards. “The advantage of doing this kind of work through AIAG is that the effort is collaborative and gets everyone involved,” says Richards. “By the time a new standard is released, it’s implementation across the industry is much faster because everyone has had a voice all along.”
Carla Kalogeridis is AIAG’s e-news editor.