Managing a diverse and agile supplier network is now a top priority in the auto industry and essential to remain competitive. Whether shifting to produce electric vehicles, dealing with the semiconductor shortage or mitigating everyday disruptions, the automotive OEM and aftermarket supply chains, live and die by their supplier network. The need for innovation and modernization in automotive business networks is crucial to remove friction, enable visibility and build resiliency for whatever comes next.  

How will you ensure your organization is agile, resilient and adaptable enough to meet the challenges it faces? To paraphrase Charles Darwin, “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, it’s the one most adaptable to change.” We can see this principle at play in the auto industry today: Tesla, in just a few short years, has become a market-leader in the plug-in and battery electric car sector. Contrast that with market-leading automakers that have experienced sales declines of 20 to 30% in North America over the course of the pandemic.  

Without a robust B2B network or simplified supplier relationships you can’t pivot. You can’t adapt quickly to  trends and changes. You can’t readily tap into new suppliers to capitalize on renewed demand. This is especially true in the automotive industry, where hundreds of suppliers and partners are fundamental to a company’s success.  

To ensure business continuity during times of extreme change and help position your organization for long-term growth, here are three ways you can increase the resilience of your supply chain and B2B networks:  

  1. Automate supplier onboarding: One major reason companies can’t adapt adequately enough is because they can’t find and integrate the right suppliers in a timely manner. Ensure that suppliers and partners can be well-vetted, integrated, and quickly onboarded to your network. Solutions that automate vetting and onboarding can get suppliers online up to 75% faster. Those weeks and months saved, across hundreds of relationships, can be used for other innovative, value-driven work.
  2. Increase flexibility and efficiency of B2B collaboration: Auto manufacturers manage an increasingly complex, multi-enterprise ecosystem, but it’s typically overwhelmed by disparate systems and disconnected processes. To compete in today’s hyper-connected global economy, you need to digitize and automate connectivity as much as technology will permit. In the process, you’ll streamline and simplify complex processes. Having real-time, digitally-connected relationships with the suppliers that matter most to your business is essential to remain competitive. Modern business networks, whether  on cloud, hybrid-cloud or even on premises, can provide those fast, real-time, digital connections and communications required to optimize the value you get out of your supplier base. They can help you break down walls and silos between organizations, streamline processes, and enable the bi-directional flow of data and information. Clear and quick communication and data exchange are the lifeblood of  collaborative supplier relationships. 
  3. Modernize technology: Most automakers have a patchwork of supply chain and B2B network technologies that were never designed for today’s dynamic environment. That’s why focusing on modernizing your B2B network offers so much upside, like gaining the scalability and agility to keep pace with changing business and technology needs.

When you modernize your B2B platform by moving to a hybrid cloud or managed service, you can begin to transition from homegrown or acquired processes and applications that cause inefficiencies and errors. Best-in-class B2B networks can automate transactions, provide real-time data visibility and capitalize on AI to provide you with intelligent alerts on exceptions and disruptions, and more. Digital B2B networks are also proven to decrease document management tasks by 85%, prevent 80% or more of current errors, and cut unplanned downtime by 99%. 

Explore how IBM can help you reduce supply chain complexity and increase operational resilience

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