The US auto industry have seen half their domestic toolmakers shut down in the past few years as automakers decide to go wherever they can get good tools for the right price, executives said today during a discussion at the Management Briefing Seminars.
The demand for low costs is leading the industry toward better acceptance of a collaborative approach which should aid both carmakers and toolmakers. By adapting “functional build” concepts, the automakers and their top suppliers are allowing toolmakers to adjust to real world production — speeding delivery time and cutting costs.
In the past, however, the industry typically forced the company to build according to the written specifications, regardless of better options. Today, functional build allows engineers and purchasing executives more flexibility to bring in improvements that were not part of the original design, which benefits everyone. Some automakers, especially Japanese firms, have accepted functional build for years, but with business conditions tough now and getting tougher, it is gaining wider acceptance globally.