The manufacturing of a car is a process, fed-up complex, a part of watchmaking is perfectly adjusted to create a product that finally aparcaremos in our garage. The problem is that when a gear of the watch is broken the whole process stops. And that is precisely what is happening to Volkswagen these days, so that production of several factories, including the lines in charge of the manufacture of the Volkswagen Golf and the Volkswagen Passat, has had to be discontinued by a lack of supplies. The interruption will last for days and affect thousands of workers, especially in the factories of Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen Passat. How and why this interruption?
The rhythm of a factory requires a seamless provisioning of materials, and manufactured components from external suppliers. If the supplier interrupts the supply of these components, the factory cannot continue its activity. Volkswagen has encountered a major problem that concerns two of its suppliers, CarTRIM and IS Automobilguss, responsible for the provisioning of seats and pieces of steel used in the gearboxes from Volkswagen.
No gearboxes, and without seats, you can’t manufacture a car. Hence the interruption in production has been the main consequence of this lack of supply.
The issue between Volkswagen and its suppliers would have to do with a series of contracts that the German manufacturer would have terminated, and that would have required a significant investment in infrastructure and production lines, to their suppliers (see Financial Times). We talk about providers that work with a profit margin very narrow, and where the benefits arise thanks to a large volume of production, so that the investment, and the termination of the scheduled deliveries, they would have had a great impact on their activity. That would be the reason that would have led to CarTRIM and IS Automobilguss to request a resolution of the conflict to Volkswagen, and to stop its deliveries until an agreement is reached.
The problem for Volkswagen has been precisely in the philosophy of production based on the method of just in time, in which the provisioning is performed under actual work orders, avoiding the costly management of huge stocks, and resulting in an increase of the productivity. A method of manufacturing that has led to the interruption of the supply will translate immediately in the arrest of the activity in its factories.
While Volkswagen and their suppliers to seek an agreement to resolve the conflict, these are the factories of Volkswagen, which will remain detained for a few days.
* Emden: Volkswagen Passat, from 18 to 24 August, some 7,500 affected workers
* Wolfsburg: Volkswagen Golf, from 22 to 27 August, 10,000 workers affected
* Zwickau: Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen Passat, from 22 to 26 August, 6,000 workers affected
* Kassel: transmission components and exhaust systems, from 25 to 29 August, 1,500 workers affected
* Salzgitter: components of engines, from 24 to 30 August, 1,400 workers affected
* Braunschweig: elements of chassis, and plastic components, from 22 to 29 August, 1,300 workers affected
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