CV Sourcing seminar – a new initiative from the SMMT

10 March 2001 #SMMT News

The SMMT held a very successful CV sourcing seminar at

its London HQ on Wednesday 3 October. The aim was to get commercial vehicle

manufacturers and UK component makers together. ‘We want to help our UK component

members get closer to internationally controlled commercial vehicle makers and

their increasingly sophisticated buying processes’, said Christopher Macgowan,

chief executive of SMMT.

Sir Ian Gibson CBE, chairman of the government’s Automotive

Innovation and Growth Team, led the seminar and gave an overview of the UK automotive

industry and the work of the AIGT. In particular he stressed the success of

the UK commercial vehicle manufacturing business. ‘This is growing very well’,

he said, ‘led by companies like General Motors and Leyland Trucks. They and

European mainland companies like DaimlerChrysler offer real markets for world

class suppliers.’

‘The trick for suppliers is to understand their customer’s

policies and systems,’ said Sharon Clancy, editor of Commercial Vehicle Sourcing

and one of the speakers. ‘Unless you know your customer’s systems nearly as

well as they do, you’ll struggle’, she said. ‘And if the company down the road

has a better understanding, they’ll take the deal. With increasing reliance

on electronic communications and web based parts buying the business environment

is changing constantly.’

‘Most of us run ‘preferred supplier’ policies, said Stuart

Heys, managing director at Leyland Truck, the highly successful Paccar subsidiary,

recently voted Britain’s best engineering Factory by Management Today magazine

and generally accepted to run the most efficient truck plant in Europe. ‘Long

term success implies being firmly on that preferred supplier list, but you shouldn’t

think the list is written in stone – suppliers go and others come, if they can

meet the customer criteria.’

Based at the Vauxhall plant in Luton, Karen Leggio is managing

director, GM Fiat worldwide purchasing. ‘Our overt policy is to grow our business

in partnership with the best suppliers,’ she said. ‘Those supplier partners

will have enormous opportunities for long term growth in successful alliances

with us.’

‘Knowing your customer is essential,’ said Ray Smith, general

manager of DaimlerChrysler’s UK purchasing liaison office. ‘You have to offer

more than your competitor, not only in hardware but in your support services

and in particular in your understanding of your customers standards and systems.

Sadly, many British companies know what to do when they’ve got an order, but

they’re not so good at the groundwork to get new orders.’

The seminar was attended by over 50 major UK automotive supplier

companies and is part of a wide ranging series of commercial vehicle industry

seminars run by the SMMT at Forbes House in central London. This event was open

to invited members and guests only. Other CV seminars in the series will cover

different aspects of the CV business and are open to a wider range of interested


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