21 August 2003 | Robin Parker
The UK automotive industry is crippled by big firms failing to resolve skills shortages in the entire supply chain, according to a report.
More than four out of five car parts manufacturers claim a lack of employee skills in their organisation is damaging profitability.
And 80 per cent say that a lack of expertise among both their customers and their suppliers further down the chain is making them less competitive.
But 58 per cent admit they are not allocating enough time, people or money to improve suppliers' performance.
The extent of the perception of skills shortages surprised Graham Broome, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders' Industry Forum, which commissioned the survey of more than 200 automotive component firms.
The forum, backed by the Department of Trade and Industry and car makers including Honda and Nissan, aims to help the UK automotive industry stay competitive.
Broome said the problem was compounded by widespread ignorance of initiatives such as the DTI's National Supply Chain Group.
"We look to our big suppliers to recognise the issues and tackle them right down their own supply chains," he said.
"While they are wrestling with the skills problem, valuable contracts are going overseas."