Management of the supply chain in the case of a recall


The modular systems that are widely used in the automotive industry offer cost benefits in manufacturing and development on the one hand, and by reducing the large number of variants also allow for technically and qualitatively sophisticated products. On the other hand, modular systems require a particularly high level of component assurance, as conceptual and production-specific errors affect even broader product populations. Potential recalls can become a nightmare for companies.


Our customer, an automobile manufacturer, started a global recall as a result of a conceptual error in one modular component. The recall was for different engine variations and a large number of affected vehicles. At that time, the majority of the recalled components were no longer produced in series at the supplier. The prompt availability of replacement subcomponents to satisfy the volatile requirements was hampered by a lack of production capacity, long logistics routes and a complex variant structure. In addition, series production had to be kept on track throughout the entire period.

Specific assignment

Needs management: Reliable forecasts of component requirements by variant, location and time.

Production management: Needs-based management of the entire supply chain, taking into consideration the capacities available, the variant mix, flexibility in terms of replacements, as well as delivery times.

KBC approach

Needs management:

  • Transparency on the at-risk population by developing a database of the vehicles affected.
  • Transparency on the components installed in the vehicles, including the production date.
  • Information on the current whereabouts of all vehicles and the status of repairs.
  • Customer behaviour predictions on the basis of market-specific regulatory requirements, and historical values.

Production management:

  • Transparency and tracking of subcontractor capacities and the availability of subcomponents.
  • Exact daily monitoring and management of the production at 1st tier suppliers.
  • Transparency on production capacities for individual lines and plants to identify bottleneck processes and the potential to increase capacities.
  • Management of supply routes to bridge supply shortages.

Realisation of potential

A recall is a nerve-racking experience for everyone involved, but especially for the customers. Therefore, a smooth process is crucial in order to limit how irritating it is for the customers affected. Long waiting times as a result of a lack of replacement parts not only cause high costs in the short term (for example, by providing replacement mobility options), but also have a very negative impact on the long term on the company image.

Using KBC’s tried and tested method, we help to achieve full transparency and a better understanding across the entire supply chain of the recall – from n-Tier suppliers and into your customers’ vehicles. This helps to organise production appropriately, thus reducing transport, storage and mobility costs to a minimum.