WEST POINT, Ga. (WRBL) – KIA Georgia is still experiencing a shortage of semiconductors, an issue they have been facing since last year. Semiconductors are essential in the manufacturing of electrical parts in vehicles like dashboard cameras and control modules.
Rick Douglas, the Senior Manager of Team Relations at KIA Georgia, said the COVID-19 pandemic made the issue more apparent because of the transition to virtual work.
“Our biggest challenge is making sure that these shortages don’t affect us. We take a lot of preemptive steps to make sure that our production is not impacted, because of 3,000 people that work here but there’s another 10 or 12,000 suppliers that depend on us running. Our goal is to make sure that we don’t interrupt that production path for ourselves or our supplier network,” said Douglas.
According to Douglas, each KIA that is produced takes dozens of semiconductors for all of the electrical parts in the vehicle. KIA Georgia produces nearly 30,000 vehicles a month and the semiconductors already need to be in the necessary parts when they arrive at the assembly plant.
Due to the shortage of semiconductors, KIA Georgia has had to adjust the timeline for each vehicle that is manufactured. Prior to the shortage, the assembly plant worked 12 weeks in advance and every vehicle had a timeline accordingly. Now, the timeline for each vehicle is evaluated at 12 weeks, six weeks and then again at 10 days prior to ensure production will not need to be stopped.
Reassessing the production timeline often gives KIA Georgia employees an opportunity to plan ahead and look at what they can do instead of what they can’t, according to Douglas.
“Everyday we’re looking 10 days ahead- ‘are there any risks we need to compensate for?’ and if so we make adjustments to our production plan so we don’t run out of parts,” said Douglas.
Douglas said this problem is expected to persist for the rest of this year and continue into next year.