UAW Strike, Supply Chain Turmoil, and Their Role in the EV Journey

UAW Strike, Supply Chain Turmoil, and Their Role in the EV Journey

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In this episode of the Automotive Supply Chain Prophets podcast, hosts Terry Onica and Jan Griffiths engage thought leader Paul Eichenberg in a comprehensive discussion about the ongoing strikes within the automotive industry. They delve into the root causes of these strikes and provide insights into their potential duration. A central theme of their conversation revolves around the pivotal role played by battery facilities in shaping the future of the automotive industry, particularly in the context of the transition to electric vehicles. 

The discussion also addresses the strikes' impact on OEMs and suppliers, the need for strategic adaptation in a rapidly changing automotive landscape, and the evolving dynamics of the global supply chain influenced by geopolitical factors and national security concerns. Furthermore, the episode addresses the formidable challenge posed by suppliers unprepared for the rapid shift to electric vehicles

Paul's insightful comments underscore the importance of recognizing the ongoing 20-year cycle of disruption and proactively preparing for it. The episode serves as an invaluable resource for industry leaders, providing a comprehensive view of the current challenges and opportunities within the automotive supply chain.

Themes discussed in this episode:

  • Labor disputes and their implications for the industry
  • Impact of the strikes on both original OEMs and suppliers
  • Transition to electric vehicles
  • Challenges Faced by Unprepared Suppliers
  • Importance of developing adaptive strategies
  • Proactive Preparation for Disruption
  • Enhancing supply chain resilience

Featured on this episode: 

Name: Paul Eichenberg

Title: Managing Director, Paul Eichenberg Strategic Consulting

About: Paul turns technology into growth by helping executives across North America, Europe, and Asia navigate the operational, systemic, and strategic issues this disruptive time in the automotive industry presents. 

Connect: LinkedIn

Mentioned in this episode:

Episode Highlights:

[02:06] Ongoing Strike and Battery Facility's Role: The episode addresses the ongoing strikes within the automotive industry, exploring their root causes, potential duration, and implications for OEMs and suppliers. It also highlights the central role of battery facilities in shaping the automotive industry's future.

[04:59] Impact on OEMs and Suppliers: The conversation highlights the evolving dynamics of the strikes, emphasizing that they have yet to disrupt the core operations of major automakers. However, the episode anticipates a potential shift as the strikes progress, affecting essential vehicle lines.

[07:41] Complex Post-Strike Startup: As suppliers grapple with the strikes' economic repercussions, they face the daunting challenge of an impending startup phase. 

[10:31] Suppliers Unprepared for Electric Vehicles: The challenge of suppliers unprepared for the shift to electric vehicles comes to the forefront.

[21:44] Supply Chain of the Future: Paul delves into the future supply chain landscape, emphasizing the need for substantial investment and a singular focus on the EV value chain, driven by government incentives and the discovery of critical resources.

[24:52] Global Supply Chain Dynamics: Taking into account the influence of geopolitical factors and national security concerns on global supply chain dynamics. The semiconductor shortage and its effects on supply chain strategies receive particular attention.

[28:15] Paul’s advice for Industry Leaders:  Paul stresses the necessity of recognizing the ongoing 20-year cycle of disruption and proactively preparing for it. Paul advises leaders to focus on scenario planning, supply chain resilience, and forward-thinking strategies to successfully navigate the evolving automotive landscape.

Top Quotes:

[02:50] Paul: “The heart of the issue comes down to the battery facilities and the union's desire to unionize those facilities for a couple of different reasons, but most importantly because that's the future of the industry. And if they aren't tied to those vehicles of the future, they really don't have as strong of a future.”

[05:46] Paul: “I think you're going to start to see more car plants as the next focus of the strike, which will create some challenges, but it's not DEFCON 4 like striking the heart of the profitability of the OEMs. Whether it's the expedition, the navigator facility, the F-series, Ram trucks, these will be the last moves of labor to inflict pain on the OEMs.” 

[06:36] Paul: “You're going to see the union go all out with a shutdown of the OEMs, potentially in the next two to three weeks. Then there will be a real push because they feel they're close enough to get to a resolution. So, for suppliers, it's going to be a disruptive month.”

[15:11] Paul: "I would say it's not too late, but it's getting to the late innings of the game. When we started talking about this five or six years ago, it seemed like a distant future. Now, 10% of the vehicles in the US are electric, and we're heading towards 30 to 35% by the end of the decade. So, you need to be developing those strategies today."

[21:55] Paul: “Just look at some of the megatrends that we have now in the industry and what's taken place… if you're an OEM or you're a supplier, and you're in the EV value chain, you've got to be investing heavily.”

[29:02] Paul: “What you have to be thinking about is where is disruption going to come from and why? And then, how do I start to put together scenarios to plan so that when those things happen, I'm prepared; I know how the organization is going to react.”


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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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