Three experts will explore how close the build-to-order selling model is to becoming an industry norm during the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit.
James Vandenberghe, vice chairman of Lear Corp; Frank Taylor, Ford Motor Co.'s vice president of material planning and logistics; and J Ferron, of consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, will participate in a Jan. 17 afternoon panel discussion.
Under Vandenberghe, Lear is cooperating more with its suppliers, hoping to offer more competitive products at lower prices. Lear also is working to introduce a common architecture concept to allow different vehicle interiors to be created off the same template.
His responsibilities include finance, joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions. Vandenberghe, a former president and COO of North American operations, has been with Lear for 27 years. Lear is the world's fifth-largest auto supplier.
Taylor is another executive looking to help coordinate production and delivery. Ford's $2 billion planned renovation of its Rouge plant in Dearborn, Mich., illustrates why this is important. Plans are to reduce vehicle storage space by 50 percent inside and outside the plant, meaning 90 percent of vehicles have to be shipped on the same day they are made.
Taylor oversees global production control, scheduling, inventory management, logistics and material flow. Before joining Ford in 1998, he worked for General Motors.
Ferron - an author, commentator, lawyer and consultant - has been involved with major industry issues affecting manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and consumers for 25 years. His management consulting duties include large business operations for auto-related fields.