In a thrust similar to GM's made-to-order scheme with Reynolds and Reynolds (above), BMW AG is rolling out manufacturing initiatives to reduce order-to-delivery time while allowing customers to make last-minute option changes. Today the process in Germany takes 28-32 working days. "Our goal is to reduce that to less than 20 days and for pre-confirmed orders to still allow customer-requested changes within 10 days of the delivery date," says Guenter Klamer, vice president logistics, information technology and quality of BMW Mfg. Corp. It involves a new manufacturing approach called "Frozen Horizons" to replace the current "string of pearls" system where production begins with a customer order and moves haltingly, pearl by pearl, along the string to body-in-white, paint and then assembly. The Frozen Horizon system will be implemented in Germany first - for the 2001 Z7 - and then rolled out in the rest of the world. "The idea is to have a (confirmed) customer waiting for every BMW that goes into production," says Mr. Klamer.