Anybody checking on what's missing at the automakers?
My company supplies a special metal part (which nobody else can make), and the the most "stupid" things are missing to fabricate just that 1 part.
Now, if a ship is stuck at Suez, and a few tonnes of metal is stuck over there, people understand you can't produce metal parts without metal.
But stuff that happens is, you need to place it in - let's say plastic bags, as agreed with the customer, but there's a shortage of those bags.
The thing is, if that's the package which is agreed upon, you can't swap it for something else. That one is released and tested, so you either use that one or you don't deliver the customer at all. Almost like the pharma sector.
Or you need a sensor to fix a machine, but that sensor takes 4 months to deliver. Or you need a 4 mechanics to visit the factory to fix things, could be something as stupid as a stuck sewage or some acoustical research to scan for the need of maintenance. But there's COVID-rules; those suppliers cannot be too close to each other, not on the same day and so on. Or maybe there's some COVID-cases and one shift is suspended.
I know this forum is semi-focused; and that's why some people may assume semi has a "so special" place and is unlike anything else, and somehow the situation with semiconductors is special in the supply chain issues of car companies.
But it's not, there's far more missing which doesn't make the news. Even a lack of - lets say plastic bags - could halt a car factory.
Of course, for semiconductors the supply chain is more complex and lead times are longer, true. But there's far, far more going on right now.
Let's say you order metal parts for safety belts, but the supplier fired people because in 2020 the orders shrunk drastically. Now, it's pretty hard to restart it, because those components are safety related. You need to train new personnel, and they need to sign the documents of becoming responsible in case of negligence. If I worked at Foxconn, I wanted to take some shortcuts to save time and mony and sold some defect products for iPhones, well Apple won't be happy but I don't end up in court. Liability has pretty far reaching effects in organizations.
Therefore it's easier to swap a chip for cartainment, than a supplier for safety belts. And you can't really sell a car without a safety belt, can you?
The interesting thing is, there's this whole plan for Germany / US / Japan to have "in country" chip manufacturing.
But I don't see any initiative to "insource" plastic casting / metal forming (leadframes anyone?)
Same thing for chemicals, like basic stuff like paracetamol, or the now famous ABF shortage which almost single handedly caused the GPU shortage AFAIK.