Global collaboration – a tactical requirement for automotive suppliers

Change is a constant in every industry, but no more so currently than in the automotive industry. Automotive OEM vehicle manufacturers continue to repaint the landscape with further consolidation and new global alliances. The resulting concept of global mega-platforms has now become the new norm, where multiple brands and vehicles share a common base architecture. Suppliers to such platforms are clearly expected to offer identical products with the same excellent quality in multiple production regions. Price competitiveness remains a cold fact in automotive, however, in addition, the highly professional purchasing departments at the OEMs demand suppliers to disclose detailed price and cost information across all regions.

Automotive suppliers generally face an uphill battle to coordinate a consistent, global response to such customer expectations. Despite the existence of Key Account sales organizations, matrix structures involving different mixes of regional and business unit responsibilities tend to promote silo-effects and limit effective information sharing. Slow or incomplete responses ultimately lead to customer dissatisfaction and loss of reputation. At even higher risk are the supplier’s pricing and profits if the OEM takes advantage of inconsistencies in the provided information.

An effective Sales Management Solution becomes a key weapon for automotive suppliers to gain a tactical advantage. Cloud based systems provide real-time, location-independent access to key customer and sales data, allowing people to break-out of their silos and collaborate across departments, regions and business units. Creating inter-disciplinary, inter-regional groups focused on customers and/or new business opportunities provides organizations with a platform for improved communication and sharing based on a common goal. The intuitive user interfaces and intelligent data management offer by CRM systems encourage accurate information input and retrieval which are cornerstones for effective collaboration. The resulting data transparency establishes a single-source of truth which promotes global consistency. Armed with a Sales Management Solution tailored for industry-specific needs, the supplier is then prepared to pre-empt the customer requests and react with a strategic, coordinated response.

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