A new and open chip culture

How the supply of semiconductors can be secured in the future.

12.08.2022 | Porsche Consulting – The Magazine

For decades the automotive industry was known for the stability of its supply processes. Every vehicle has thousands of components, which are made by hundreds of suppliers around the world—and each one of these components was right there on the assembly line when it was needed.

In 2021, however, these otherwise so robust supply chains suddenly began to crack. The problematic components were precisely those expected to play a key role in both the cars’ inner workings and the makers’ brand identities—namely, semiconductors. They continue to be in short supply, which means that many cars cannot be produced on time or at all.

How is the automotive industry addressing this problem? “We’re approaching a paradigm shift in supplier management,” says Dr. Hagen Radowski, IT expert and Senior Partner at Porsche Consulting. “The collaborative model involving carmakers, first- and second-tier suppliers, and semiconductor makers will change in fundamental ways. Driven by necessity, carmakers will be playing a greater role, also in light of competition from other sectors.” What will that look like in concrete terms? One example: “A number of European carmakers and suppliers have founded the Catena‑X informational platform to render their supply chains more transparent and to communicate their medium- and long-term needs for specific semiconductor products. Chip producers can use it as a guide and base their production plans on the demand.” The new paradigm will therefore also bring higher levels of openness and transparency among rivals as well as greater collaboration. Competition alone will no longer be what drives the industry forward.

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