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A Better Partnership

Ahead of the Curve Auto Supplier Blog

March 31, 2016

High Profile Panel Discusses OEM-Supplier Relationship

Written by Margaret Baxter

After less than two months at Warner Norcross & Judd, I was delighted to be asked to moderate a panel at the recent Pure Michigan Automotive Summit, a collaboration between the MEDC and MICHauto. The Summit was a huge success that connected more than 1,200 automotive supplier representatives with business opportunities at a number of OEMs and 51 of their Tier One suppliers. It was the largest matchmaking event of its kind hosted by the state and it was a great opportunity for me to meet so many of the industry’s key players.

Our panel included the global purchasing executives for General Motors (Steven Kiefer), Ford (Hau Thai-Tang), FCA North America (Thomas Finelli) and Toyota (Jim Holloway). It produced a lively discussion on the state of purchasing for 2016 and covered such issues as what manufacturers look for in new suppliers, how they measure supplier relations, the role of the supplier community in autonomous vehicles and more. Importantly, the panelists provided guidance to suppliers on the best ways to approach and work with OEMs and some of the dos and don’ts of OEM-Supplier relationships. Attendees agreed it was a productive session.

The OEM-Supplier relationship is a complicated interchange, meaning that it’s absolutely critical to fully understand contractual responsibilities. After all, when things go well everyone wins. When things don’t go well, you need to have a contract that spells out obligations and responsibilities and provides a roadmap for business planning. Warner’s Automotive Industry Group focuses solely on suppliers. If you’re in the supplier arena and preparing to sign a deal with an auto manufacturer, or with another supplier, and you want to be certain you’ve covered everything that needs to be covered, give us a call. It became very clear during the panel discussion that in this highly complex supply chain, you have to cover every base.


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