War is disrupting Europe's auto industry. And Ukraine's previously unappreciated role as a supply base is now proving to be a pinch point. Labor-intensive wire harnesses are typically made in low-cost countries — Ukraine, for example. Now several of Europe's auto plants are vulnerable.
But Leoni, which specializes in wire harnesses — with plants also in Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco — is determined to keep normalcy flowing across Europe.
Speaking to analysts last week in Europe, Kamper reported that cross-border trade is still possible, despite the Russian invasion, with the supplier able to source its own components and raw materials and export products.
Whenever there is an air raid alert, employees have to go to a shelter, either on the supplier's premises or at home. According to Kamper, they then remain sheltered for hours in temperatures a few degrees above zero, unsure of how it will turn out, "and then return to work."
There are also alarms at night, so people have to go to the air raid shelters when they are at home. As a result, the CEO said, there is a sleep deficit.
"When that's the case, we naturally have much more difficulty achieving normal productivity the next day and then cut shifts accordingly to give people a chance to regenerate," he said.