North American Automotive Tooling Industry Trends

North-American-AutoThis week the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) and Harbour Results, Inc. (HRI) co-hosted the 2015 Automotive Tooling Update. IQMS was pleased to attend this event to better understand the issues and trends affecting tool makers, as well as OEMs and Tier suppliers for the next five (5) years.

In the program led by Dave Andrea, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of OESA, several drivers were identified by industry analysts and forecasters.

Shaun Karn, Executive VP and CFO of Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering, Inc., and Co-Chairman, OESA Tooling Forum

The latest Tooling Barometer outlook is optimistic, up significantly in last 14 months. Tool shops are hiring an increasing number of apprentices in anticipation of the expected surge in tooling for the large number of OEM vehicle launches over next five years. Finally, with technical capacity limitations compared to demand many tool makers plan to outsource simulation, design, as well as rough and finish machining.

Jeff Schuster, Senior VP – Forecasting of LMC Automotive

Schuster reported that extensive use of leasing programs by all of the OEMs is encouraging consumers to acquire more vehicles with more content. Lower fuel costs are also supporting a shift in vehicle mix back to larger and more profitable vehicles.

From the data available to LMC, Jeff noted that fierce competition in North American light vehicle market is driving fragmentation of platforms into more nameplates, faster redesigns and special options packages to attract well-informed buyers even as production expansion in N.A. continues as the market pushes near 20 million units by 2019. This complexity means that there will be more tools required for appearance and convenience features such as body sheet metal, front and rear facia, lighting and interiors. This increase in the number of tools required will be enhanced by localization of sourcing programs, but also slowed by competition from China.

Laurie Harbour, President and CEO of HRI

Harbour announced the launch of HarbourIQ, a business intelligence tool for  automotive tool makers. This service is a collaboration of OESA, over a dozen other industry partners, and the American Mold Builders Association to provide tool makers benchmarking information based on surveys, anonymous client analysis results and other data available through the partners.

Ed Potoczak, IQMS Director of Industry Relations, has more than 30 years of experience in the manufacturing industry. Formerly an ERP consultant at the Oakstone Group and Plante Moran, Ed has also held positions as a senior systems engineer for Chrysler, technical sales leader in parts suppliers and general manager for a process equipment builder.