Groundbreaking Research Reveals Vulnerability at Heart of Auto Supply Chain

Groundbreaking Research Reveals Vulnerability at Heart of Auto Supply Chain

Study spotlights historically underserved requirement for Automotive Program Management software


Detroit, MI – October 6, 2021 – Actify, the leading provider of visualization and program management solutions for the automotive supply chain, today announced the publication of a first-of-its-kind independent research study focused on how vehicle component development programs are managed by key suppliers to the automakers. The double-blind study, commissioned by Actify and conducted by Lifecycle Insights, is based on interviews with 183 top tier automotive suppliers across the US, Canada, and the UK.

The program management function at an auto supplier is charged with shepherding newly awarded programs through an exhaustive development and launch process that may extend for many months prior to full-scale production. Program managers carry responsibility for customer satisfaction, on-time delivery, and profitability.

“Programs represent the contract relationship between Auto OEMs and their suppliers, and are the mechanism used across the industry to manage the outsourced supply chain,” said Dave Opsahl, CEO of Actify. “Program managers are the orchestrators that ensure that every department and every downstream supplier is informed and on track to achieve delivery and performance targets. Yet despite their critical role, a lack of purpose-built software has forced suppliers to create their own management tools, often relying on off-the-shelf project management tools and spreadsheets.”

Program managers have long compensated for the lack of technology with extraordinary effort and dedication. But it is a precarious situation and a source of vulnerability for suppliers as overburdened teams try to anticipate and avert problems. Now, an increasing volume of programs due to shorter model lifespans, new OEM market entrants and electrification, represent a real threat to operational success. At a time when reports of supply-chain disruption and material price volatility fill the headlines, it is crucial that suppliers equip program management with tools that measure up to the task and give suppliers the insight and agility required to communicate and collaborate among all program stakeholders.

Key findings from the Lifecycle Insights research study include:

  • 91% of respondents indicate their company is actively pursuing improvements in program management
  • 65% of program managers are communicating hourly or daily with customers, in addition to suppliers, management and other departments within their own company
  • 65% of program managers are sending files hourly or daily to customers, in addition to other program stakeholders
  • 40% of program managers are still inputting data to physically printed documentation
  • 59% still track program status in physically printed paper forms, and 74% still use spreadsheet software, and there is heavy customization of any tool that is used, including ERP, PLM, PDM, etc.
  • More than 50% reported significant to moderate problems with a range of issues such as errors being missed in downstream communications, lack of consistent, company-wide processes, and internal systems consuming time and creating dependence on individuals
  • 29% indicating the pandemic has made program execution harder

The full report can be downloaded here.

“Our research shows that the complexity of today’s automotive programs is skyrocketing. The workload to successfully manage and deliver these programs, despite that increasing complexity, falls heavily on program managers,” said Chad Jackson, CEO of Lifecycle Insights and author of the report. “The study’s findings clearly show the shortcomings of manual, ad-hoc practices and cobbled-together IT solutions for program management. Executives are searching for ways to improve. Investing in improvement initiatives, and enabling them with modern, progressive solutions, falls squarely into that effort.”

Identifying whether any of the issues that currently plague programs in the industry are present in the organization. Assess what effects they may have on the execution of programs. Actify recently launched a purpose-built automotive program management software solution. This cloud-based, SaaS product is already deployed and delivering value, with current capability focused on gathering and communicating program timeline and status, ensuring version control of designs and specifications, and automating updates to/from other systems including ERP, CRM, and PLM. The system adapts to each supplier’s unique phase/gate program lifecycle, and planned additions will address the program development phase during which suppliers bid for new business, and program analysis which will focus on capturing and transferring lessons learned. Actify APM is available now in North America.


About Actify

For 15+ years, Actify has been helping manufacturers to visualize and interact with design and engineering information. We’ve led the industry in creating easy-to-use tools that are affordable and improve quality and productivity. Now, Actify is applying everything we have learned to meet the unique needs of automotive program teams. Actify serves a global base of more than 1500 companies using Centro for collaboration and integration and SpinFire for CAD visualization. Actify is headquartered in Detroit, Michigan with sales and support in 45 countries through its offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and China, and a global network of partners. For more information, please visit and


For media inquiries, please contact:

Angela Simoes

[email protected]



About Lifecycle Insights

Lifecycle Insights is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping executives target and realize benefits from tech-led investments. LCI digitally publishes research and thought leadership guidance, enabling better investment and deployment decisions.

Media contact:

Chad Jackson
Chief Analyst & CEO
[email protected] 

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