General Motors has a team of about a dozen specialists working around-the-clock to minimize interruptions in its supply chain amid the COVID-19 pandemic, company spokesman David Barnas told The Detroit Free Press this week.
While the automaker has managed to prevent any major outbreaks of COVID-19 at its U.S. vehicle assembly plants, it is still finding it difficult to prevent parts shortages at the facilities as suppliers, particularly those in Mexico, face their own mid-pandemic production hurdles. The automaker has had to cancel overtime shifts or run partial shifts at the GM Arlington Assembly plant in Texas and a parts shortage at the GM Flint Assembly plant forced it to cancel a single shift there earlier this year.
These parts shortages have not had any significant impact on production yet, but the Arlington and Flint plants make some of GM’s most popular models, so any potential bigger shortages could spell trouble for the company. Arlington Assembly plant makes the automaker’s line of full-size SUVs, including the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, while Flint Assembly produces the Chevy Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD.
Barnas said GM’s team of supply chain experts “continue to work intensely to ensure that all parts continue to flow into all of our facilities,” and said they have placed a particular emphasis on Mexico due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the country and increased lockdown restrictions. Mexico has had more than one million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and at least 98,259 deaths as of last weekend.
GM has been running three shifts at both Arlington Assembly and Flint Assembly after pandemic-related factory shutdowns took a bite out of its inventory of full-size trucks and SUVs. Supply is still tight at most dealerships, however, as the popularity of the vehicles is making it hard for GM’s production lines to outpace demand. GM CEO Mary Barra revealed earlier this year that GM-developed software is helping to address the issue, allowing dealers to easily find out which vehicle combinations will sell the best so they can use their limited available orders wisely.