Dana McBrien (pictured) has moved from his role as associate chief advisor at Honda North America to become ‘guiding architect’ for AutoSphere, a digital supply chain system (previously referred to as the Automotive Supply Chain Data Ecosystem) developed by US information technology and packaging specialist, Surgere.
McBrien worked for Honda for 34 years and held a number of roles in supply chain management there, including management of the North American transport initiatives supporting the carmaker’s supply chain operations.
His responsibilities have been divided between Bill Little, who is leading the supply chain department, and Kevin Wade, transportation department manager.
In his new role, McBrien will be looking to develop the AutoSphere system beyond its current application as a management tool for returnable containers. AutoSphere has been designed to enable companies to share data and analytics and more efficiently move, track and manage containers and parts inventory. It aims to bring cost savings and increase operational efficiency by providing visibility over returnable containers via radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.
Five OEMs – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, GM, Honda, Nissan and Toyota – set up the system with component suppliers Adient, Denso North America, Mahle North America and Yanfeng Automotive Interiors.
The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) was brought in to provide overall liaison and help establish best practice. Guidelines are close to being published, McBrien told Automotive Logistics.
McBrien said it would ensure each of the five OEMs worked to the same system, avoiding suppliers having to work to five different processes – a clear saving of time and money for all concerned, he suggested.
“It can be used to look for pockets of waste and eliminate them. It will also provide vast amounts of data to enable faster, better decision-making,” McBrien said.
As a result, he expects several by-products covering quality control, receiving functions, finished vehicles and other activities to come out of AutoSphere.
Though each OEM continues to adapt individually to industry and technology changes, AutoSphere will “put them on steroids” by ensuring they collectively keep up with such changes much better, said McBrien, adding that AutoSphere is open to other OEMs and companies in the supply chain.