Opinion: JLR boss Ralf Speth on preparing for Brexit
Speth: “Where am I going to store 20 million parts a day?”
Britain’s biggest car maker faces concerns over parts deliveries and administrative delays
Brexit, then. The current Brexit barometer in the industry at today’s Frankfurt motor show is one of exasperation. Cheeks get puffed, shoulders shrugged, ‘you know as much as me’ often volleyed back over the net at the mere mention of the ‘B’ word when chatting with any car executive.
Whatever the outcome, a man more affected than most in the industry will be Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth, who had a calm, articulate dissection of the current state of play on what it means for the UK’s largest car maker.
“No one can give you an answer,” he said at today’s Frankfurt show. “And if they can, it will last two minutes before there will be another terms and conditions sheet.
“It’s difficult to make a judgement. I cannot predict the future. You can listen to the political statements and form different judgements even from that.
“I have 20-25 million car parts a day that need to be moved through our factories. I need them all just-in-time to be able to build a car. If I miss a part, the car isn’t built. There is no car.
“If there is a delay at the ports of one minute, two minutes, 10 minutes, or whatever – what happens? There’s talk of setting up warehouses to store these parts. Where am I going to store 20 million parts a day?
“You need logistics on top of that also. You need special deliveries to transport it. No suppliers are going to be able to support that. You’ll need new warehouses, new IT systems. It’s not possible on capital, IT or infrastructure.
“I’ve already hired 40 extra people for admin. They’re all administrators. Take the costs of these people: would they not be better creating products for the future, to make a stronger UK plc, rather than admin and filling in forms?”
Source: Autocar Online