More MBS CoverageTRAVERSE CITY, MI – Lear Corp.'s top information technology (IT) chief tells a Management Briefing Seminars session here on Product Lifecycle Management that overly zealous software peddlers need not apply.

Arguing against what he calls "function creep," which adds unneeded software to IT systems, Lear Vice President and Chief Information Officer John Crary advises his listeners to "lose your Silicon Valley attitude" because "there are no silos of technology."

Then he gets warmed up: “There's way too much of, ‘You need this because the guy with the backpack, sandals and a German shepherd lying under his desk says you need it.’”

After his talk, Crary declines to say he has built a "firewall" to stave off software geniuses, but allows it's not easy to get by his secretary.

Lear's John Crary

Crary says OEMs and suppliers shouldn't rush to install new software "unless it has real value and not just for the sake of invention or change where there's no value."

Few Silicon Valley software outfits truly understand the automotive industry, he says, advising them to listen more closely to Detroit's needs.

"They've got to listen to the marketplace," he says. "There are a lot of millionaires out there riding bikes to work."

Although General Motors Corp. is bringing in house procurement of interior systems supplied by Lear, Crary says Lear expects to continue supplying plant-flow management and directed-buy services for GM.

Why is GM making the change?

"Interiors are the second thing buyers look at," Crary tells Ward’s. "The first is the exterior color. I guess they wanted to manage it (interior systems) themselves for better control."