Navigating the New Normal

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Automotive Parts Suppliers Conference

For the automotive supply chain, the new normal incorporates increased supplier responsibility and liability; more cloud-based, mobile and wearable technology; challenges in supplying high-strength-steel and aluminum components; the rebound of larger vehicles and more.

How appropriate then that the Precision Metalforming Association, in its 22nd annual edition of its Automotive Parts Suppliers Conference (APSC), adopts Navigating the New Normal as the event’s theme.

An essential conference for companies supplying the automotive industry, APSC, April 28-29, moves this year to the Detroit Marriott Troy in Troy, MI. More than 150 industry executives will gather for the educational and networking event, which promises timely automotive-forecast information, legal and regulatory updates that impact current and future business, insights on customer requirements, and the opportunity to build relationships with new partners and customers.

Analysis of Strong Commercial-Truck Market

APSC should be a must-attend event in 2015, especially given the flexing automotive industry. Beyond just consumer passenger vehicles, the industry is humming in many sectors. Consider heavy trucks. A recent report from IHS Automotive, which will present at APSC, notes strong North American commercial-vehicle demand. With more than 7.7 million commercial vehicles on U.S. roads, the market is at its highest levels since the 2008-09 recession, according to the report, as relayed in “Transportation Industry A Robust Target for Fabricating Technologies,” by Ray Chalmers in the March/April issue of MetalForming’s sister publication, Fabricating Product News (

Automotive Parts Suppliers Conference
 Photo courtesy General Motors

Specifically, the Class 8 truck market, comprising tractor-trailers, is very strong right now, according to Don Ake of FTR Transportation Intelligence. At APSC, Ake will provide a forecast for Class 8 truck and trailer demand along with analysis and commentary on the commercial-transportation-equipment industry.

“Class 8 orders in 2014 were the second-highest year in history and the fourth quarter of 2014 was the highest-order quarter ever,” Ake tells MetalForming in previewing his presentation. “OEMs were running into production capacity constraints late in 2014 and are expected to be running full-out for some periods this year. These production constraints have prompted large fleets to place their expected requirements for the year earlier than normal. This has boosted backlogs, especially in the second half of 2015.

“Demand is being driven by a strengthening freight market that is growing faster than the general economy,” Ake continues. “This is causing truck utilization percentages to grow and fleet capacity to tighten. Carriers managed their fleet size conservatively early in the economic recovery, creating pent-up demand. This has contributed to the robust conditions in the current market.”

Conference Covers Gamut of Supply-Chain Issues

Overall, the 2015 APSC program will feature thoroughly researched vehicle sales and production forecasts, and the latest on warranties, recalls, terms and conditions. Speakers and panels will take questions about the forecasts as well as supply-chain relationships, contracts and other legal issues.

General sessions focus on the global industry outlook as a means to foster innovation and position companies for long-term profitability. Educational sessions cover tooling, design, terms and conditions, and attracting and retaining talent. Roundtable lunch discussions explore key industry issues while panel-discussion topics include supplier requirements and materials selection. APSC also offers high-level networking sessions. The event also will include the 4th annual Women in Automotive luncheon sponsored by Women in Manufacturing ( and the Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation.

To register or learn more about APSC, visit or contact PMA’s Rosemary David at MF


See also: Precision Metalforming Association

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