• Steve Rodgers on Addressing the Challenges Facing the Automotive Industry

    by it@optessa.com | Jun 06, 2016 | Uncategorized


    Photo of Steve Rodgers former President of APMA (Automotive Parts Manufacturer Association of Canada)Introduction of Steve Rodgers, President, GS Global Solutions

    Steve Rodgers is a well-known figure in the auto industry. With a 22 year career spanning senior positions in General Motors and Magna, followed by a stint as President of APMA (Automotive Parts Manufacturer Association of Canada) he brings a wealth of experience from the OEM, supplier and international perspectives. His current activities include being an Adviser to Optessa.

    Steve, the auto industry went through a downturn in the last recession but has rebounded in North America. What are the main challenges facing auto suppliers?
    Yes, in North America vehicle sales have increased from a low of 8.5 million units in 2009 to over 17.9 million units expected in 2016 as the North American, principally the US, economy has recovered. For auto suppliers this presents huge opportunities for business growth but also significant challenges. One such is to increase production volumes while dealing with increased variety of parts. In addition, OEMs want to keep costs down so they can attract customers and maintain margins.

    What is the way forward in addressing these successfully?
    Suppliers have to figure out how to increase output and operate their plants more flexibly. There are two ways to do this – either make large capital investments or improve the planning and scheduling business processes to get more throughput and flexibility. With the pressure to keep component costs at current levels, supplier executives believe they will need to increase productivity significantly. Therefore, I expect suppliers who improve their scheduling business processes will be well positioned to meet the challenges facing the automotive industry.

    How did you hear about Optessa?
    I ran into them when they were initially being considered for use at the Honda Alliston assembly facility. Interesting to note that Honda saw such value in their sequencing and scheduling software that they were eventually deployed in Honda facilities around the world. Optessa is currently the planning and scheduling solution at four large OEMs.

    What can Optessa solutions offer to parts manufacturers?
    Optessa offers the best planning and scheduling technology to parts manufacturers. Extensive experience in the automotive industry over more than a decade has given Optessa in depth knowledge of the industry; this is reflected in their software. As a result, they are able to address planning and scheduling problems out of the box. This is important for two reasons – suppliers can get up and running quickly and do not need to worry whether the system can meet their evolving business requirements.
    Production volumes have doubled, and auto suppliers have to ramp up quickly to increase throughput. Optimal Scheduling is a key to increasing output. With Optessa’s Cloud option, the timing seems to be spot on.