The Future of Supply Chain: Technology, Digitalization, and Industry Standards

The Future of Supply Chain: Technology, Digitalization, and Industry Standards

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In this episode of the Auto Supply Chain Prophets podcast, Jan Griffiths and Terry Onica interview Robert Cameron, Chairman of the Board at Odette International and VDA's Head of Production, Logistics, and Aftermarket Department.

Robert shares their mission to digitize the automotive supply chain, including the initiative to adopt API technology and develop standards to support the auto industry's electrification.

The discussion covers the latest on MMOG/LE, noting its success with larger OEMs like Ford and Volvo trucks. Robert stresses how these standards streamline processes, cut costs, and improve supply chain quality.

Robert also explores ESG practices and European legislative compliance, touching on packaging laws, decarbonization, and hazard management. He underscores the need for guidelines to support smaller businesses to adhere to upcoming supply chain laws. 

Wrapping up, Robert urges leaders to be transparent with customers and suppliers. While he acknowledges the challenges of dealing with unfair players, he emphasizes the need for collaboration, especially in times of crisis.

Themes discussed in this episode:

  • Importance of transparency and cooperation in the automotive supply chain.
  • Digital transformation of the automotive supply chain.
  • Adoption of API technology for enhanced communication among stakeholders.
  • The enduring significance of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) in automotive supply chains.
  • Challenges faced by the industry, including supply chain stabilization post-pandemic.
  • Initiatives for decarbonization and environmental sustainability.
  • Impact of industry standards like MMOG/LE on process efficiency.
  • Need for standardized ESG reporting and guidance for businesses.
  • Emphasis on fair treatment and collaboration to address future crises effectively.

Featured on this episode: 

Name: Hugh Robert Cameron

Title: Head of Production, Logistics, and Aftermarket Department at Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA) and Chairman of the Board at Odette International.

About: Meet Robert Cameron, a key figure in the automotive industry. As the Head of the Production, Logistics, and Aftermarket Department at VDA, he leads initiatives to enhance communication between OEMs and suppliers, driving efficiency and innovation. Additionally, as Chairman and Member of the Board at Odette International, Robert champions projects to increase supply chain transparency through technologies like EDI and RFID. With his expertise, Robert is shaping the future of automotive supply chains.

Connect: LinkedIn

Mentioned in this episode:

Episode Highlights:

[03:33] Odette's Mission: Odette facilitates supply chain digitalization to make the EU’s automotive industry more competitive.

[04:50] VDA Overview: A quick look at the role and pillars of the German Automotive Industry Association (VDA).

[06:37] Supply Chain Challenges: Robert discusses the major challenges faced by the industry from both German and European perspectives and shares Odette's and VDA's current initiatives.

[09:52] APIs vs. EDI: The potential of APIs as either replacements or supplements to EDI systems.

[11:08] Integrating New EV OEMs: The benefits of existing systems to emerging electric vehicle manufacturers.

[13:28] MMOG/LE Update: Robert provides an update on the latest version and its adoption within the industry.

[19:53] ESG Focus: Robert discusses the current initiatives and developments related to Environmental, Social, and Governance practices.

[25:22] Tier One Advice: Robert advises Tier One leaders to prioritize transparency and collaboration for future preparedness.

Top Quotes:

[07:48] Robert: “That is our mission. We try to increase the transparency in the supply chain. We try to get these separate stakeholders and members of the supply chain to work together to communicate and to cooperate for the greater good and the stability of the supply chain.”

[10:19] Robert: “I don't think EDI is going away anytime soon. It takes a long time to implement but is extremely stable. And it's partially a legacy technology, of course, so everybody's scared to touch a legacy technology. Never stop a running system. But it is so stable that it provides you security for the production process.”

[16:00] Robert: “If we have a standard employed by several OEMs or best all OEMs, you have less administrative hassle with reporting to your customers; if you have a different reporting system for each and every customer, that is going to be very tenuous,  it's going to be very expensive, and it's going to ruin your profit margin basically. So, having these standards and processes in place actually benefits our suppliers, and it benefits the OEMs in the way that their suppliers can react more quickly to their demands.”

[26:33] Robert: “I believe the next semiconductor shortage is coming up in less than a year. We all know how the last semiconductor shortage crisis was. We will have to work together. We have to figure out where the shortages are and where the bottlenecks are. And we will have to guarantee a stable supply chain together. This is a partnership thing.”

[27:04] Robert: “The world is too fragile at the moment. It is too dynamic. And if we want to save our business model, we have to become stable on the inside to be able to deal with the chaos outside.”


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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