Oh Say Can You Sue?
It no doubt came out more ironic than he wanted.
Sigmund Huber, assistant general manager-purchasing/supplier relations forMotor Engineering and Mfg. North America Inc., gamely responds to a question from the audience during the World Class Manufacturing panel discussion.
Why is an attorney in charge of supplier relations?
Huber explains he actually had a good bit of experience in purchasing and other related business activities prior to his current position.
But then, in a good-natured attempt to distance himself from a previous life, he sends a shudder through the crowd by explaining he was not a âlitigaterâ but a bankruptcy lawyer.
A Shot in the Dark
âIt's no secret that the machine tool industry is on intensive care, and it's from self-inflicted wounds," says Richard Pearson, president and CEO, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, in response to whether there would be a domestic tooling industry 10 years from now.
"The future of manufacturing is not onshore or offshore, it's âanyshore,â he adds. âMaterial and transportation costs are going so high, they're going to past labor costs."
Center for Defects Disease
Using Dell Computer as a model for building vehicles and major components such as engines is nothing new.
In fact the idea was first launched â and famously misinterpreted by the media â some years ago here at the Management Briefing Seminars after a speech by aexecutive.
However, Bruce Coventry, president-Global Engine Mfg. Alliance, says heâs benchmarking another organization that doesnât come up too often in automotive circles: the Center for Disease Control.
He wondered out loud why it takes days to find the source of production glitches using the typical methods when the CDC can isolate meningitis outbreaks overnight.
The Rain in SpainâŚ
Learning new languages is a challenge for offshore suppliers, but almost as difficult is learning new accents for English, says Hema Rao, of the Indian engineering firm Harita TVS Technologies.
For help, thereâs Powerway.com, a software program that links various product lifecycle programs and others for suppliers, which is available in seven languages, the most recent being Chinese.
Translating the program into a new language is a matter of $100,000 and 90 days, company founder Rick Ringlespaugh says.
Whoâs at the Door?
The number of gates suppliers have to go through has an effect on the time needed to get a project into production.
A study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers foundCorp. has 17-20 gates, Motor Co. 15-18, Group 11-13, American Honda Motor Co. Inc. 10-11 and Toyota Motor Corp. 9-10.
Ricardo Plc developed an engine for GM faster than the General could do it for itself, because it bent the auto makerâs rules to get through the gateways faster.
Could GM do that?
Ennie, Meany, Minnie, Moe
Outsourcing is rapidly changing the global automotive business.
SKF, the Swedish manufacturer of bearings and seals, did 70% of its business at the Tier 1 level in 2000 but by 2005 had fallen to 20%.
âIt has changed our processes,â says Gregg Rasmussen, vice president-car business.
A big change: The company now has to work with as many as five suppliers bidding for the corner of a car project, only one of which will win the contract.
Weâll Always Have Paris
The phrase âLean Manufacturingâ got 15,634 hits in June on a major search engine, according to Doug Gregory, chief operating officer of Plexus Systems Inc.
Associated terms âkaizenâ drew another 8,029 searches and âkanbanâ had 3,904. By comparison, âParis Hiltonâ was tapped 3,220,530 times.
India was the leading country searching for âlean manufacturing,â followed by Mexico. The U.S. was in sixth place.