Automotive Supply Chain Magazine - page 10

In December last year, General Motors appointed
Grace Lieblein to the position of Vice President
Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, replacing Bob
Socia, now President, GM China and Chief Country
Operations Officer, China, India and ASEAN. Having
joined GM in 1978 as a co-op student at the GM
Assembly Division in her hometown of Los Angeles,
she was, prior to her current appointment, President
and Managing Director at General Motors do Brasil
Ltd. from June, 2011 and served as President and
Managing Director of General Motors de Mexico from
December, 2008.
“I think we’re in a really exciting time in the
purchasing world in GM today and I’m really excited
to be in this role and to work with a great team and a
great supply base,” she says.
“This is a tough business. Whether you are a
supplier or an OEM it is a competitive environment
and it has been so for a long time. We have gone
through some financial crises, starting here in the
US in 2009, which have trickled around the world
and that has impacted both OEMs and
suppliers. Yes, there are challenges
in the supply base, especially as
suppliers deal with a number of
new product launches.
Launches are especially challenging; there is a lot of
capital and resources put in place. Some suppliers
do better than others, but it is a challenging
environment and I think it will continue to be so.”
A recent survey, conducted by the Original
Equipment Suppliers Association, found that 62% of
suppliers to the North American automotive industry
have introduced longer working hours in an effort
to meet demand from customers. Automotive light
vehicle production in North America is expected to
hit 15.9 million units this year, up from just 12 million
in 2010, and 43 new car launches will take place in
2014, rising from 20 in 2013.
With extra pressure being put on suppliers,
purchasing executives are increasingly concerned
about a break in their supply chains. “Supplier
capacity is definitely an issue, and it is pretty global,
except for Europe because of the economic situation
there,” agrees Lieblein. “Capacity in the US overall
decreased pretty significantly during 2009 and 2010.
“Supplier capacity is definitely an issue,
and it is pretty global, except for Europe
because of the economic situation there.”
Grace Lieblein, Vice President Global Purchasing and Supply Chain,
General Motors
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