Automation or Bust: The Pressure Mounts for Automotive Procurement Teams

In a climate where there’s little room for human error, automotive procurement leaders must start their digital supply chain transformations now. Here are 4 key places to start.

Despite a decade of strong industry growth, challenges continue to multiply for auto manufacturers. From sea changes like electrification and self-driving vehicles to ever-evolving technologies, tariffs, and geopolitics, the next decade will present no shortage of complexities for procurement departments.

Efficiency will remain top-of-mind, as rising material costs and competition squeeze profits (and drive up the pressure on procurement teams). Aside from fine-tuning existing systems and processes, procurement is also tasked with finding ways to future-proof. There is simply no room for error in the supply chain.

Fortunately, supply chain technology has evolved along with the automotive industry, promising to not only eliminate costly mistakes but deliver valuable data and insights that help auto manufacturers across all tiers optimize and improve. Here are the solutions that automotive procurement professionals should start getting familiar with (and quickly).

  1. Procure-to-Pay Automation. Let’s start with a no-brainer. If you’re still using email, fax, or spreadsheets to send purchase orders, manage invoices, analyze and forecast, it’s time to modernize and streamline your operations. When you invest in a platform that digitizes your purchasing process, expect it to quickly pay for itself in efficiency gains. From eliminating time-sucking manual tasks (like confirming shipments and routing invoices) to providing more accurate forecasting and sourcing data, the potential is almost limitless.
  2. Enhanced Supply Chain Visibility. With new vehicle technology comes the need for new suppliers. Not only must manufacturers choose these new partners carefully, but the onboarding process must be seamless and agile so they can keep up with demand; even the tiniest disruption can lead to huge headaches further down the supply chain. The fact that suppliers are more geographically disparate than ever before only amplifies these challenges. That’s where real-time monitoring comes in. Imagine having total visibility into all of the systems and processes that impact your business—even those outside of your organization’s walls. Some of today’s more advanced solutions are designed to monitor shipments in high-definition detail, analyze supply chain performance across any number of suppliers, and even help you anticipate risk and optimize your strategy using predictive analytics.
  3. Smarter Shipping. How much time does your team spend manually tracking shipments, getting estimates from carriers, or troubleshooting delivery scheduling conflicts? By automating these tasks, you can eliminate the bottlenecks and boost the bottom line, with significant freight cost reductions and labor cost savings. With more advanced logistics management tools, you can not only automate routine tasks like shipment notifications, tracking, and processing freight invoices—you can customize business rules and alerts, and even receive updates on your mobile device. And with more robust logistical data (that grows smarter by the day), you’ll be in a better position to identify more savings opportunities and negotiate better terms down the road.
  4. Airtight Quality Control. In the auto industry, quality control is everything. With a robust quality management solution, you can ensure that your facility is the strongest link in the chain. Rest easy knowing that your suppliers’ products have passed muster and that you’ve got a thorough digital paper trail to back those findings up.

Ready to take the next step? Let’s talk about how Elemica’s Digital Supply Network and suite of products can impact your bottom line, helping you eliminate functional silos, future-proof your manufacturing business and stay one step ahead of tomorrow’s challenges.

Get in touch with a specialist today.