Toyota is the preferred automaker to work with according to automotive suppliers in 2010, although its advantage over other carmakers is shrinking. Ford North America, GM and Volkswagen are recording the most significant improvements in the suppliers’ rating of OEMs as measured by the SuRe (Supplier Relationship) index, a survey-based tool introduced by the SupplierBusiness team at IHS Automotive. The SuRe index measures how carmakers perform in managing their supply base, rather than how popular they are according to suppliers.
Suppliers’ executives rate automakers with which they are currently in business on 28 relational, organisational and commercial aspects, allocated in five categories. The study leverages on the OEM supplier relations survey, which is in its fifth edition. In 2010, 192 respondents participated in the study, representing 2,900 current supply contracts.
Toyota’s pole position is challenged by another Japanese OEM, Honda, while Porsche occupies the third spot in the 2010 SuRe index. Ford North America is the outlier in a ranking which has been traditionally tiered in four areas with the Japanese carmakers dominating it, followed by German premium OEMs, European mass carmakers and the Big Three at the bottom. Ford now occupies the eighth spot, representing a substantial improvement over last place in the 2006 edition of the study. Volkswagen chases Ford for the eighth position.
GM is also encountering increasing favour in the supplier community, although this is not translating into a fundamental gain of positions in the SuRe index ranking. Similarly to GM, the two partners Fiat and Chrysler are also improving, but not enough to move away from the lowest positions of the ranking.
“Treating suppliers more fairly is no longer the prerogative of Japanese carmakers. Both European and North American mass carmakers are working on fixing their relationships with the supply base, but the Detroit Three are definitely the most active in this field with a number of initiatives, Ford earlier than others,” says Matteo Fini, lead researcher of the SupplierBusiness team. “Toyota remains the benchmark model for supplier relationships, but the pedal storm and tighter price policies have partly tarnished its attractiveness as a customer.”
The five concepts in which the 28 questions are categorised are: Profit potential, Organisation, Trust, Pursuit of Excellence and Long-term Outlook. These are then summarised in a numeric value in a 0 to 1,000 scale, which forms the SuRe index. The questions cover all the different phases in which the two parties interact, from RFQ (Request for Quotation) through development to warranty liability management.
The SuRe index is based on SupplierBusiness’ well-established surveys of the supply industry, which started in 2005. From its inception, the survey has seen the participation of more than a thousand senior to middle managers working at automotive suppliers and directly interfacing with OEMs' personnel. In 2010, 50% of respondents were based in North America, 41% in Europe, 9% from other regions. The survey includes 25 of the world’s top 60 automotive suppliers, 58 of the top 100, 53 medium sized suppliers with turnover between $100 million and $1 billion and 81 small suppliers (turnover lower than $100 million).
A variety of suppliers’ organisational functions are surveyed in order to include the different perspectives on the business relations and practices of OEMs. Most respondents belong to Marketing and Sales, Engineering, Program Management, R&D, Quality and Manufacturing. The 28 questions have been organised in five patterns and cover the entire period of the supplier’s interface and involvement with the OEM - from RFQ to warranty liability management. These result in a numeric value, ranging from 0 to 1,000 indicating the rating of suppliers.
For an executive summary of the survey results, please go to supplierbusiness.com/sureindex
SupplierBusiness (supplierbusiness.com) is a team within IHS Automotive focused on automotive supply base issues, providing the most comprehensive coverage of issues facing the global automotive supplier community. Thorough analysis of the purchasing and product development strategies at OEMs are combined with the supplier viewpoint on those same processes through regular surveys of leading automotive suppliers.