TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - DaimlerChrysler has launched a program to get suppliers involved earlier in product planning.
The automaker has formed in-house project teams to work with suppliers on product development, said Jeffrey Trimmer, DaimlerChrysler's director of operations for procurement.
He spoke on Monday, Aug. 2, at the annual Management Briefing Seminar held here by the University of Michigan's Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation.
The new program - called Customer-Based Value Management - is being launched now for future models. The goal is to help stimulate supplier creativity and reduce costs, Trimmer said.
'We haven't always gotten all the good ideas and the creativity early on from our suppliers,' he said. 'Instead, we tell (our suppliers) what to do. That is rapidly changing.'
The process moves suppliers closer to the initial product concept phase. Suppliers will meet early with DaimlerChrysler teams formed to discuss ideas.
DaimlerChrysler wants suppliers to develop cost targets early in the process and adopt kaizen lean production methods. The automaker's teams will monitor suppliers' progress, Trimmer said.
DaimlerChrysler also wants to get lower-tier suppliers involved and is asking Tier 1 suppliers to get their own suppliers to follow the program.
While DaimlerChrysler's Extended Enterprise cooperative program has increased supplier responsibility, it has not always been used in early product design, Trimmer said.
The process has not yet found its way to Germany and the former Daimler-Benz AG, he said, but an exchange of ideas is continuing across the Atlantic.