Supply Chain Dynamics: Technology, ESG Regulations, and Strategic Collaboration

Supply Chain Dynamics: Technology, ESG Regulations, and Strategic Collaboration

At the heart of The Prophets’ vision are “The 24 Essential Supply Chain Processes.” What are they? Find out, and see the future yourself. Click here

In this episode of the Auto Supply Chain Prophets podcast, hosts Terry Onica and Jan Griffiths welcome Nichole Felton, Vice President of Supply Chain for ZF North America and board member for AIAG. Nichole gives a glimpse into her role, tackling challenges like global compliance regulations and ensuring a unified approach for a North American regional role within a German-based company. They discuss upcoming supply chain challenges, covering trade regulations, sustainability, anti-dumping measures, semiconductor restrictions, and the roles of industry organizations like AIAG and MEMA.

Nichole highlights the importance of technology, AI, and industry partnerships in improving data quality and sustainability efforts. The episode concludes with a discussion on women in supply chain leadership and advice for supply chain leaders. Nichole offers empowering advice to female professionals in the automotive industry, encouraging them to be vocal about their career goals and seek advocates. Additionally, she emphasizes the need for personal development among supply chain leaders to tackle future supply chain challenges effectively. 

This episode provides a direct and practical overview of current automotive supply chain challenges and future considerations, featuring Nichole's extensive industry experience.

Themes discussed in this episode:

  • The importance of women empowerment initiatives in manufacturing and supply chain
  • Global compliance and trade regulations within the automotive sector
  • Addressing forced labor concerns
  • Overcoming organizational silos and promoting effective communication
  • Strategies for tracing and managing complex supply chain data
  • Sustainability challenges, including anti-dumping measures and semiconductor restrictions in the supply chain.
  • Embracing technology, AI, and collaborative efforts for improved data quality and sustainability in the supply chain
  • Women in leadership, advocating for oneself, and the importance of personal development goals

Featured on this episode: 

Name: Nichole Felton

Title: Vice President of Supply Chain, ZF North America

About: Nichole is a proven global supply chain executive in the automotive industry. With a remarkable international track record, she excels in motivating high-performing teams to achieve strategic objectives. Nichole has held key leadership roles, including Thermal Segment Director and Corporate Commodity Executive, showcasing her expertise in achieving business results and pursuing new growth opportunities.

Connect: LinkedIn

Mentioned in this episode:

Episode Highlights:

[03:35] Future challenges: A conversation about the upcoming challenges the automotive supply chain will encounter in the next 2-5 years.

[05:21] Data and Communication: Explore the complexities of acquiring and managing supply chain data and the essential roles industry organizations like AIAG and MEMA play in fostering collaboration and communication within the automotive supply chain.

[12:48] Breaking Down Silos: Nichole's opinion on organizational silos emphasizes the need for agile solutions and an enterprise-wide approach to ensure wise decision-making. Also, learn how corporate leaders can collaborate effectively with plant managers for a cohesive supply chain.

[16:25] Empowering women: Nichole shares empowering advice for women in the industry, encouraging them to vocalize their aspirations, seek advocates, and overcome common barriers to reach leadership positions in the supply chain.

[20:57] Advice for supply chain leaders: Nichole wraps up with valuable advice for supply chain leaders, emphasizing the importance of personal development goals alongside professional ones.

Top Quotes:

[07:45] Nichole: “I think the industry partners with AIAG and MEMA, for which we're both board member companies, is really critical. It helps us to stay in touch with other companies and what they're doing around this space.”

[08:30] Nichole: “Being active in those trade organizations and understanding what other companies are doing to the extent that they can share and feel comfortable sharing is really important.”

[13:50] Nichole: “If you have people who can think with an enterprise view and not get hung up on their own metric to be successful but really make smart decisions about the overall business, I think that's where talent really shines.”

[15:47] Nichole: “If I'm a plant manager, I want to know the benefit for me. Why should I enact and be passionate about your corporate directive? And if I can show the benefit to a plant manager in the idea, that's where the magic happens. I can get inspiration and passion from a plant manager when they see that there's a benefit for them, either directly from their cost, operational efficiency, or something that's going to make the life of their plant better.”

[18:46] Nichole: “We as women cannot put our heads down and think someone's going to notice we're working hard. You have to be vocal about what you want.”

[21:24] Nichole: “It's really easy for us to sit down and think of all of the work and employment goals that we're going to come up with within our action plans. But I would also say that your personal development is really important. Don't forget to think about your development goal for the year.”


Delivering on the Promise of Delivery: Automotive Sustainability and Profitability

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White Paper for Leveraging Risk Management in Automotive

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Operational Restart Readiness

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The 24 Essential Supply Chain

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Keep in touch with Auto Supply Chain Prophet's co-hosts Terry Onica and Jan Griffiths on LinkedIn.


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