GM ranked third behind Toyota and Honda in the 22nd annual Supplier Working Relations Index Study conducted by consulting firm Plante Moran.
The Supplier Working Relations Index Study was conducted by Plante Moran from mid-February to mid-April of this year. Respondents are salespersons from Tier-1 suppliers serving the big three Detroit and big three Japanese automakers, with the study tracking supplier perceptions of their working relationships with OEMs. These respondents are asked to rate OEMs across the eight major purchasing areas broken down into 20 commodity areas. This year’s study included 673 salespersons from 436 Tier-1 suppliers, representing about 50 percent of the six OEMs’ annual buy.
Toyota was ranked first overall in this study with 345 points, while Honda was in second with 334 points. GM was third with 287 points, maintaining its gap to Toyota while increasing its lead over arch-rival Ford as the Dearborn-based automaker rose 7 points to 242. Nissan was fifth overall with 219 points, while Stellantis was last among the six included companies with 128 points.
Dave Andrea, principal for automotive and mobility consulting practice at Plante Moran, said automakers can improve their relationships with their Tier 1 suppliers by improving their communication with them, in turn streamlining the suppliers’ business and helping them meet their own growth and financial goals.
“The OEMs really need to focus on more transparency and better communication,” Andrea said. “They need to better align purchasing, engineering, and manufacturing to achieve the same goals – improved communication, efficiency and speed – in order to take cost and time out of the entire supply chain while helping suppliers achieve their cost and financial performance goals as well. These processes must become more agile and streamlined to benefit both the OEM and supplier.”
Plante Moran said GM product buyers fell slightly in three key areas: knowledge of supplier products and services, sharing information in a timely manner, and timely resolution of issues. GM buyers could improve the company’s score by gaining more knowledge of supplier products, improving communication with Tier 1s and working to resolve issues in a more timely and efficient manner.
Andrea says strong supplier relations will be extremely important going forward as automakers look to secure important materials for EV manufacturing, such as lithium or cobalt, for example.