Manufacturing, Product Strategy and Supply Chain Issues In the Global Automotive Industry

Manufacturing, Product Strategy and Supply Chain Issues In the Global Automotive Industry

Moderated by:
Janell Townsend, Professor and Chair of Management & Marketing
Oakland University

James C. Williams, Automotive Vertical Leader -North America, CEVA Logistics
Michael Robinet, Executive Director, Automotive Advisory Services, IHS Markit

The automotive industry’s market sales are forecast to be US$3.8 trillion in 2022* – and this doesn’t even account for all the value chain members and the vast network of stakeholders associated with doing business in this industrial vertical! Technological advances, government regulations and a hyper-competitive market are among the forces directly impacting a flurry of product announces and new manufacturing investments around the world.

Join us with leading experts to explore some of the manufacturing, product strategy and supply chain issues facing the future of the automotive industry in an evolving paradigm.


Thursday, February 24, 2022
11:00AM -12:00PM EST

About the Speakers

Janell D. Townsend, Ph.D.

Janell D. Townsend is a Professor of Marketing and International Business, and Chair of the Management & Marketing Department at Oakland University, in Rochester, Michigan, USA. Dr. Townsend also teaches marketing strategy in the Masters of Science in Engineering Management program at TU-Wien in Austria, and with the Chair of Technology Innovation Management at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. She has also taught at Michigan State University, Wayne State University and was honored to serve as the Hedi Fritz-Niggli Visiting Professor of Business at the University of Zurich. She earned her Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Marketing and International Business.

Dr. Townsend is a recognized expert in global marketing strategy, with interests falling within the nexus of branding, innovation, and globalization of the firm. Her research has appeared in top tier business journals such as the Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Marketing Letters, Journal of International Marketing, Industrial Marketing Management, Industrial and Corporate Change, Journal of Business Research, International Marketing Review, and Thunderbird International Business Review, among others. Her research has received commendations and awards for their contributions from top national and international conferences, including from the American Marketing Association and the Academy of International Business. She has served as a chair for a number of annual conferences, including Product Development Management Association (PDMA), the European Marketing Association, and the International Motor Vehicle Program (now PVMI, part of the Mack Institute at the Wharton School). Townsend serves on the editorial review board of the Journal of Product Innovation Management, and edited a special issue on innovation in the global automotive industry.

Dr. Townsend regularly consults and collaborates with major global automotive OEM’s, suppliers, and market research firms on research projects, and coaches executives as they deal with transformative strategic issues. She has also served as an expert witness in legal cases involving marketing and innovation issues with automotive and related products.

Professor Townsend has professional experience with Clarion Corporation of America, Intel, and Unisys, among others. She actively serves the academic and business communities through work with research, program, academic, student oriented, and professional development organizations. Dr. Townsend has also served on the board of directors for non-profit organizations, such as the Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation, Let’s Build Character Career Development, and PDMA’s Academic Board.


James C. Williams
Automotive Vertical Leader -North America
CEVA Logistics

An Experienced Leader that embodies an entrepreneurial spirit; and the practical understanding of a corporate industry veteran. Deep and broad experience in the OEM and Tier Automotive vertical, plus strong knowledge in other Supply Chains. His leadership style strives to maximize business potential through innovation. Plus, enhancing morale for both clients and colleagues.

James’s proven track record of driving exemplary financial results contributed to his well-rounded background and the required skills, knowledge, and ability to develop and execute corporate strategy. Besides, his relentless desire for continuous improvements has led to double-digit revenue generation, standardized practices, reporting, and visibility in every phase of business development, from concept, through planning and execution, to optimization and replication across five continents.

James has more than 20 years’ experience in Sales Management, Sales Operation, Global Account Management, and Business Development. James is currently Vice President Global Key Accounts and 4pl Lead for Automotive at CEVA Logistics focusing on bringing innovative supply chain solutions to global automotive clients. Before CEVA and DSV/UTI, James was Vice President and Partner of Walker SCM and held various positions in his eight years with Airborne Express.

Specialties: P&L Performance, Corporate Strategy, Supply Chain Management, Global Account Management, Sales Operational Excellence, and Business Development


Micahel Robinet
Executive Director, Automotive Advisory Services
IHS Markit

Michael Robinet is a senior leader and Executive Director within the IHS Markit Automotive Advisory Practice based in Detroit. From November 2011, Michael functioned as a Managing Director leading successful engagements with the North American Advisory Group. Until late 2011, Michael served as the Director of Global Vehicle Forecasts for IHS Automotive from 1996 – Growing this to be the most influential industry forecast – globally.

Core competencies include supplier strategy formulation/business planning/transition and advisement, global vehicle production and capacity forecasting; future product program intelligence; platform consolidation and globalization trends, trade flow/sourcing strategies and OEM footprint trends.