Purpose - To provide the reader with an appreciation of the present trends in the UK automotive supply industry as they affect the first and second tier supply chain and aims to give researchers an insight into the complex interaction between suppliers and their customers. Design/methodology/approach - Literature review which is divided into the sub-sections of strategy, structure, processes and co-ordination required within the manufacturing environment, to identify the influence of synchronous supply as it affects these main areas of operations management. Findings - Through the use of examples from previous papers written on automotive and related supply industry operating methods, and to date Grounded Theory forming a pilot study to empirical research for this research, it concludes that synchronous supply can provide the lead for an efficient automotive supply chain. Research limitations/ implications - The concept of synchronous supply presents a challenging research framework for supplier operating strategy, structuring processes and co-ordination between the vehicle manufacturer (VM) and the whole supply chain. Practical implications - A useful source of information for VMs and their first tier suppliers to understand more about synchronous supply and its affect on the supply chain. Originality/value - This paper presents the concept of synchronous supply as a challenging framework for supplier operating strategy, structuring processes and co-ordination between the VM and the whole supply chain.