Case Study: An Auto Manufacturer’s Supply Chain Goes From 0 to 60 (in less than a year)

How a British supercar manufacturer took control of its supply chain management and became more efficient and profitable Client Introduction

When you’ve been making high-end sports cars for more than 70 years, you know your industry better than most. But even as one of the leading U.K. auto manufacturers that specialize in making premium sports cars, this mid-century-founded business was still managing its supply chain in an old school mentality.

From their headquarters and facilities throughout England, this carmaker sells nearly 2,000 cars per year (and climbing) and employs around 1,500 people.

From its original 15-horsepower car to the lightweight supercars it builds today, this company has kept up with trends and managed to weather the ever-changing auto industry. In 2018, the company came under new ownership and leadership and has been undergoing a large-scale digital transformation effort ever since.

The Problem

As part of the company’s digitization project, the quality leadership team knew it had to upend the current supply chain management system. For many years, supply chain quality issues had been flagged on paper—handwritten, in fact—at the assembly-line level and manually entered into a spreadsheet. As you can imagine, this was an inefficient process that cost them not only man-hours but stalled productivity and hindered transparency.

This bottleneck caused issues up and down the supply chain. From lack of visibility of supplier issues to poor supplier performance, the automaker realized that poor supply base management was essentially capping its production performance. As they undergo their digital transformation, a critical priority for the quality team was identifying and solving problems within their supply base faster.

Open has worked with our Supplier Quality team to build a system key to our business transformation, delivering project commitments and ensuring business continuity during the pandemic.”

The Solution

Enter Open Supplier Performance. The key to what makes Open so powerful is its risk dashboard. This tool helps the user identify, through a number of channels and signals, where their supplier is risk-exposed. Even if a company has a quality plan in place, it may not address everything. Non-conformances can still happen and having a system in place that catches them early, can lower the risk and save a company time and money.

The Open platform is an aggregation of data points and metrics including the user’s behavior. Imagine a purchase order is placed at the supplier level, the parts are delivered to the manufacturer, but an issue is identified with a specific part. The issue is then documented as a non-conformance and the manufacturer goes through a process of remediation with the supplier. When this process is generated in the Open tool, your suppliers are notified immediately and you receive updates as they move through the process of solving the problem. You no longer have to chase down suppliers to ask for updates, the Open system automatically tracks and keeps everyone updated in real-time.

Open Supplier Performance has a measurable impact on our business processes. It allows us to share key quality, best practice, and industry-standard processes with our supply base.” – British Auto Manufacturer

The Result

Using our comprehensive application, this British auto manufacturer was able to understand where the gaps were within their supply chain. With more accountability and a strong system in place, supplier quality issues are solved 22 percent faster than before.

The process of logging problems became seamless as well. Before Open, it took 80 minutes to log a single non-conformance. Now anyone can log a problem in less than eight minutes, allowing the manufacturer to substantially improve quality throughput.