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Szafnauer endorses supply chain

27 July 2016

Otmar Szafnauer, Force India F1’s chief operating officer, has endorsed the motorsport supply chain as innovators and delivering engineering solutions.

Speaking as the keynote speaker in the Motorsport Industry Association’s Driving Future Motorsport Business Growth through International Trade and Innovation Exchange Conference held at Sahara Force India F1 just before the British Grand Prix, Szafnauer told the packed audience of around 250 delegates that having been in the motorsport industry for more than 20 years, he still marvels at the speed and efficiency of the supplier network.

“This is a highly competitive environment which has made the motorsport industry extremely efficient,” he said. “When there’s a problem it needs to be fixed quickly in time for the next race and I can’t think of any other industry that operates to such high and sensitive margins, especially in terms of the design production cycle. The key skill of the motorsport industry is the ability to design and develop and produce engineering solutions and technology in the shortest time possible. It is this core strength that gives it the competitive advantage in competing for business with companies in adjacent sectors. It’s important that this strength, which is central to the culture of motorsport, is articulated and used as a competitive advantage when pitching for business growth.”

He then said that it is almost a daily occurrence for a Formula 1 team to make a decision as to whether manufacture something itself or to outsource it, in other words, to make or buy. “What is it that drives us to use you or companies like yourselves instead of investing internally to make some of these components ourselves, and it’s that answer I believe is important for your business.

“We often look at bringing technology in-house mainly for performance reasons, not cost ones although that’s important as well. If costs are out of control and we have to pay too much for an item, product of service, it does have an impact on our performance because we have a limited budget so we have to make that performance cost trade-off. It’s those reasons that drive Formula 1 teams to use external suppliers, and it’s usually the factor that using suppliers such as yourselves will give us better track performance. That’s when we go out because our total focus is on beating our competitors. So a Formula 1 team will use you and the service and products you supply because you’re the best at what you do and better than what we can do. If you do more of that I can assure you adjacent businesses will make the same decisions and you will have opportunity to grow.”

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