AutoMOTIVE 5 - (Page 8)

cowger.qxd 24/11/06 10:13 am Page 8 HERE FOR THE LONG HAUL In 2004, General Motors fundamentally changed the way the company had been structured for 100 years. The turnaround plan now demonstrates that some of the major restructuring was designed for the longer-term. Sam Ogle discussed this and other issues with Gary Cowger, Group vice president for Global Manufacturing and Labor. A significant part of the GM reorganisation was the engineering, it then becomes prohibitively expensive and globalising of the company's major functions. Gary takes a lot of square footage to try to become flexible Cowger, formerly regional president for North America, afterwards. The integration of product engineering and was asked to head up the global manufacturing and process engineering is key to enabling the manufacturing labour relations functions. GM's global manufacturing possibility. Jim Queen and his whole GM global product footprint comprises 176 plants in 34 countries, producing engineering team absolutely understand the need for 9.2 million vehicles with over 235,000 hourly-paid and manufacturing flexibility and enablers. The product guys salaried employees and dealing with over 50 unions. have a difficult job. They have to get the product right, Last year was the first in they have to meet the GM's long history when the re q u i re m e n t s of the Lean manufacturing means driving company sold more vehicles marketplace and, by the way, the waste out of the system and outside the United States they have to put the body than it did inside. Such a shift holes in the same place for the continuously improving in the markets has manufacturing teams. Gary Cowger necessitated the utilisation of At GM, manufacturing common systems and processes. Much of the work in GM flexibility is built off an operational foundation, from manufacturing these days goes to support the company's competitive work practices all the way to the global architecture by defining a build sequence that is implementation of a Global Manufacturing System GMS . identical across all architectures and that can be used in Our GMS is aimed at running common around the world, flexible production facilities capable of building a global says Cowger. Single, common, competitive production product portfolio. systems using the best processes, practices and Flexibility has become the name of the game as technologies which support our goal of becoming the automakers strive to reduce costs and optimise capacity. high quality, low-cost manufacturer. It involves the Ever yone, it seems, has a different definition of the inclusion of people, standardised work, built-in quality, concept, but Gary Cowger is clear about where it all starts. short lead times and continuous improvement. Manufacturing flexibility begins in product engineering, Lean manufacturing means driving the waste out of he states firmly. If you don't have the enablers in product the system and continuously improving, he adds. With 8

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AutoMOTIVE 5

Editors Note
Here For The Long Haul
Halewood. Rebirth of a Car Plant
Safety First
Focus on Flexibility
A Prophet Without Honour?
Chrysler Cuts It Four Ways
A MINI For All Reasons
Porsche Plans Continuous Logistics Improvement
Flawless, Consistent Execution
Ford's European Supplier Parks Deliver Lean Manufacturing Efficiencies
Cheap and Cheerful
Onwards and Upwards
Schrader and Siemens Electronics Assembly Systems Take the Pressure
No Faults Forward
A Long Way From Wheelbarrows and Bath Tubs
A New Era in US/Japanese Cooperation
A Dialogue of the Deaf