Ford Motor Company recently issued a recall for 160,000 of their turbo-charged vehicles, and many outside the industry are wondering how so many vehicles slipped through the supply chain and inventory control and reach the consumer level. Kelli Felker with Ford explained to The New York Times that there was an issue where the engine wiring harness may have been compromised. According to the Times, nearly 133,000 vehicles in the United States and about 25,000 in Canada are affected by the recall.
Second Major U.S. Auto Maker to Issue a Recent Recall
Back in February, General Motors also issued a recall for vehicles that stalled, deployed airbags when there were no crashes and ultimately were found to be responsible in crashes that led to 13 deaths. The Ford issues were similar in that the vehicles stalled often and without warning. No reported injuries or deaths have been linked to the Ford recall, thus far.
Supply Chain Monitoring is Critical
Following the latest recall, a Forbes Magazine article said the supply chains of American car makers are under heavy strain. Replacement parts, including child seats, tires and other mechanical fixes, are stretching factories thin as some 13 million vehicles have been recalled to Detroit just in the first half of 2014. So what's the underlying cause behind all the recalls. Mike Rozembajgier with Streicycle, a company that publishes a recall list, said that companies really need to maintain and monitor their supply chains.
"With small manufacturers and suppliers contributing to the majority of [2014 first quarter] events, it's clear that no organization is safe and that auto brands are only as strong as their weakest link," Rozembajgier noted. "To protect consumers and the brand alike, companies must ensure they are prepared to efficiently address every facet of a recall in this increasingly complex industry."
Forbes also found that off-site suppliers play a major role in supply chain failures. Keri Dawson is with software supplier Metric Stream and said that companies need to watch their suppliers very carefully.
"A lot hinges around creating much more transparency across the extended supply chain," explained Dawson. "It's critical to know every step along that product's lifecycle, so you can make a determination of where the failure occurred."
Rozembajgier added that it's not solely the fault of the automaker, the suppliers or any other personnel along the length and breadth of the supply chain. He said every stakeholder of the operation needs to be watching every step of the way. Failure to do so results in recalls like the auto companies are suffering through now.