DETROIT - The key to creating vehicles that will be hits is to cultivate innovation and cooperation with suppliers, says Bo Andersson, executive in charge of worldwide purchasing for General Motors.
'We must offer innovations that make people want to buy our vehicles, and we must work even closer with our best suppliers,' Andersson said Monday, March 5, in a keynote address at the Automotive News PACE Awards ceremony.
'Innovation is difficult to define,' Andersson said, 'but if you look back in history, products win or lose because the innovation either fit or didn't fit the intended customer.'
On GM's successful programs in the past, suppliers have helped the automaker by teaching it to work cross-functionally as well as provide innovations, Andersson said, in addition to giving flawless execution.
GM sees the keys to its success as:
Strong product development and a flawless launch
Balancing current and future businesses.
It is important for suppliers to get quick feedback on their performance for the relationship to be successful, Andersson said. GM uses a computerized system it calls SupplyPower to give suppliers real-time data on orders and shipments.
'The right use of this data is strengthening our cross-functional teamwork with manufacturing and engineering,' Andersson said. 'The better we work together, the easier it is for us to focus on the products and our customers.'
By focusing on the fundamentals, GM and suppliers will have more time to spend on creativity and innovations, Andersson said. 'Innovation and execution equals winning products for our customers,' he said.
The motivation to improve comes from the pride generated by producing products that get positive reviews and that consumers want, Andersson said. The motivation, in turn, drives innovation.
Said Andersson: 'GM needs suppliers to keep introducing innovations so we can continue to make winning vehicles.'