Automakers and suppliers are under pressure to simultaneously improve quality, efficiency and productivity. How they are doing it will be examined in a panel discussion on manufacturing at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit on Jan. 18.
Sam Licavoli, CEO of Textron Automotive Co., and Louise Goeser, vice president for quality at Ford Motor Co., will participate in the Tuesday afternoon panel.
Industry consultant James Womack, co-author of Lean Thinking and The Machine That Changed the World, also will participate.
Licavoli and Goeser have firsthand experience with improving factory quality and productivity. Both stepped into their current positions earlier this year.
Licavoli, former president of Automotive Group A.O. Smith Corp., joined Textron, of Troy, Mich., in 1996. With 1998 original-equipment sales of $2.4 billion, Textron Automotive was ranked 34th on Automotive News' list of the world's largest parts suppliers. The company supplies instrument panels, fuel tanks, and interior and exterior trim.
Licavoli, who also has held management positions at Ford, Walker Manufacturing Co. and International Harvester Co., was named to Textron's top position in April.
He recently announced that Textron will try to deepen its penetration of the Japanese original-equipment automotive market by establishing a production base there.
Goeser took over the quality job at Ford in March, after serving five years at Whirlpool Corp. and 20 years at Westinghouse Electric Corp. As vice president of quality for Whirlpool, she was credited with initiating a manufacturing system that improved product quality tenfold.
In addition to her jobs on the front lines of industry, Goeser also has been active in judging how other companies have performed. She is vice chairman of the board of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the organization that awards the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award on behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
In recent years, she has been both an examiner and a judge in the Baldrige Award program. To date, Cadillac Division is the only automaker to win that award.