Keywords: SCM, supply chain management, automobile industry, corporate autonomy, social sustainability, economic sustainability, supplier management, outsourcing, low costs, Germany, automotive products, independency, buyer-supplier relationships, layoffs, bankruptcies, economic crises, unsustainable policies, sourcing policies, motor vehicle manufacturers, problematic practices, illegitimate practices, sustainable strategic management
Endangering social and economic sustainability: supplier management in the automobile industry
During the last ten years, the automobile industry compensated its economic deficiencies by outsourcing costs towards suppliers. A case study on a German automotive supplier illustrates to what extent the focus on low costs limits the supplier's corporate autonomy, in particular its ability to run its business according to its own rules, and reveals how an increasing loss of independency in buyer-supplier-relationships endangers the suppliers' contribution to social and economic sustainability. Current layoffs and bankruptcy in the automotive supply industry are not only caused by world economic crisis but also a direct result of unsustainable sourcing policy of the big car manufacturers employing problematic and illegitimate practices.