Using Key Supplier Relationship Management to Enable Supply Chain Risk Management in the Automotive Industry

  • Ludovic Eber
  • Diego Vega
  • David B. Grant
Keywords: Supplier relationship management, supply chain risk management, original equipment manufacturers, automotive industry


This paper investigates whether manufacturers using key supplier relationship management as a strategic tool will enable supply chain risk management to reduce or mitigate risks. An exploratory qualitative study conducted interviews with five auto manufacturers and five original equipment manufacturers or first-tier suppliers. Analysis found both groups are interested in doing so but that the practice is not wide-spread. Inhibitors include a continuing emphasis on cost, quality and supplier capacity, issues regarding new and smaller supply chain actors, sudden process and production changes impacting suppliers, and lack of auto manufacturer communication and information sharing. Suggestions to address these inhibitors include closer collaborative involvement between auto manufacturers and their original equipment manufacturers in a key supplier relationship management approach.

Author Biographies

Ludovic Eber

Ludovic Eber is supply planner at L’Oréal, Canada. Prior to joining L’Oreal, Ludovic worked at Renault-Nissan Alliance, France on the Logistics Outbound division.

Diego Vega

Diego Vega is Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management and Social Responsibility at Hanken School of Economics, Finland and Deputy Director of the Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Research Institute. 

David B. Grant

David B. Grant is Professor of Supply Chain Management and Social Responsibility at Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki. His research interests include logistics customer service, satisfaction and service quality; in-storeand onlineretail logistics; reverse, closed-loop and sustainable logistics; and humanitarian and developmental logistics. David’s recent applied research has investigated on-shelf availability and out-of-stocks, forecasting and obsolete inventory, and total loss and waste in food retailing; internet retailing service quality, consumer logistics and shopping convenience in both grocery and non-grocery contexts; and online service failure and recovery in Finnish public sector organisations. He has over 240 publications in various refereed journals, books and conference proceedings and is on the editorial board of many international journals. David was tied for fifth place in the 2019 list of the top ten Finnish academics in business economics for research impact and productivity and the only logistician in the list and was awarded a Bualuang ASEAN Chair Professorship for 2019-21 at Thammasat University in Bangkok. Corresponding author