Monday, August 2, 2010

Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars

The Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars kicked off this morning in Traverse City, Michigan, with manufacturing executives from the Detroit 3, BMW and Honda speaking on strategies and methods they've engaged to improve the product and process while UAW President Bob King bestowed the merits of unions and the fact they are an essential part of every democracy.

Chrysler's Senior V.P., Manufacturing Scott Garberding described Fiat's role, investments of about $1.2B in new engines and transmissions and their World Class Manufacturing banner which encompasses eliminating waste, developing new tools for manufacturing, cleaning and painting machinery and facilities and the allocation of 30 people per plant to handle fit and finish issues. Garberding says "there's a new spirit of teamwork at Chrysler."

Ford's V.P. of North American Manufacturing, Jim Tetreault, extolled how the One Ford plan of the past 3 1/2 years has brought flexibility and the ability to change the model mix in response to consumer demand. Tetreault explained how their detailed virtual manufacturing efforts create an ergonomically conducive setting for workers before the equipment is even made and how reprogrammable tools eliminate the need for replacements - a time and money saver.

GM's V.P., Manufacturing and Labor Relations, Diana Tremblay, stated the mission of delivering "products people want" and finding fast solutions using existing assets such as using the Buick Lucerne and Cadillac DTS platform to make the new Volt extended-range electric car. Tremblay says there's more employee involvement and GM's suppliers now know the plans well in advance so they can prepare for upcoming vehicles.

Other speakers discussed recycling, energy saving developments and the importance of good communication. More to come from Traverse City, the northern Michigan town that prides itself as a prime cherry and wine producing region.