We recently supported the subsidiary of an automobile manufacturer for a sourcing and re-sourcing mission for parts intended for a converted hydrogen vehicle (an LCV, Light Commercial Vehicle).
To be able to transform and sell its utility vehicles, based on a chassis from a production vehicle, our client needed to equip them with an electric hydrogen traction chain:
- Hydrogen tanks (bottle) at 400 Bar pressure,
- Fuel cell,
- Buffer batteries,
- Electric traction motor,
- Other components:
- Either linked to the hydrogen traction chain,
- Or not directly linked but impacted by the modifications induced by the installation of the components of the hydrogen traction chain.
Our client was responsible, within its factory, for the design and transformation of the vehicle both to install the components of the hydrogen chain and to modify the existing elements impacted by this installation.
The problem of scaling up the supplier base
For this hydrogen mobility project, it was, therefore, necessary to source and purchase new components adapted to the transformation of the vehicle (purchases concerning the “purely hydrogen” part of the vehicle were managed by a joint venture of the automobile manufacturer).
Our client was faced with the problem of scaling up its supplier base. Its production would increase from five hundred vehicles per year to around ten thousand (production multiplied by twenty).
This increase in production generated a double problem:
- ramp-up, both internally and externally (suppliers),
- technical capacity of the existing supplier base (not used to medium series).
All with potential quality risks.
Support with the sourcing and re-sourcing of parts for a converted vehicle
This was not a very large series production for which the original manufacturer’s supplier base was organized, but a medium series production. In fact, “classic” suppliers (large series) did not wish to get involved. They feared the destabilization of their industrial process: multiple references & low throughput, frequent readjustments of manufacturing processes, freezing of productive or logistical areas, etc.
Our client therefore needed to source components suppliers who were technically capable and willing to produce medium-sized series at the quality level required by the brand. It was therefore necessary to identify manufacturers of tailor-made parts compatible with the transformation of the vehicle.
The transformer’s purchasing team, accustomed to managing very small series production, asked SNECI to support it in this sourcing & resourcing operation of medium series components/suppliers.
Our main mission was to identify manufacturers of medium-volume components, compatible with the constraints linked to the hydrogen traction chain.
The added value of SNECI: identification of a new pool of suppliers
Our team of specialists, with technical and commercial skills, followed the following steps:
- Scouting for suppliers who seem to be able to produce the components on a technical level (identification of all suppliers).
- Signature NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement).
- Sending RFI (Request For Information) to verify the actual capabilities (technical/production standard logistics, etc.) of the potential suppliers identified.
- First screening: selection of suppliers for the RFQ (Request For Quotation) phase.
- RFQ (price/volume/delivery commitment based on a complete technical file).
- Audit (process/quality, etc.) of the best-priced suppliers.
- Starting commercial negotiations with suppliers from the shortlist from previous phases.
Once the final choice of suppliers was made by our client, we supported them until the delivery of the EI (initial samples) and then the OTOP (Off Tool Off Process) production at the nominal rate.
Strengths of SNECI
Thanks to our expertise in the automotive sector, we were able to help our client with:
- Identify new suppliers meeting the CDC for this project. These had to both have the technical capacity to meet demand and be organized to do so at a price lower than the target price.
- Significantly reduce the purchasing cost of certain components thanks to resourcing which resulted in very competitive purchase prices.
- Guarantee the delivery of IEs and Off Tool/Off Process/on-speed production.
All while ensuring compliance with the quality requirements required by the original manufacturer and price constraints.
- 52 suppliers from 9 countries were contacted,
- 6 suppliers on the shortlist,
- 3 suppliers chosen,
- A price divided by 3 compared to the target price (on certain references).
Deliverables provided at the end of our service:
- Complete analysis report. It included in particular the detailed list of all the suppliers identified with contact details, contacts, technical capacity, response to our request, etc.
- Summary of our final recommendation of suppliers (choices based not only on price).
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