TRAVERSE CITY, MICH.-- DaimlerChrysler AG is challenging its suppliers to get more flexible.
Craig Corrington, vice president of DaimlerChrysler AGs truck and activity vehicle assembly operations and stamping and component operations, says the automaker gained flexibility in the way it manufactured at several of its plants over the past year, and suppliers need to keep up.
Our supplier base will have to have the same type of flexibility to complement what were trying to do, he says. This way, as the marketplace shifts, which it always will, we will both be able to adjust quickly.
Corrington, who was promoted to the newly created position on Friday, Aug. 1, spoke Monday at the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich., about world class manufacturing. He had overseen stamping operations and will spend the next couple of months integrating that business with assembly operations.
Corrington pointed out several improvements at DaimlerChrysler over the past year, including reducing unscheduled overtime 800,000 hours and improving process quality by up to 70 percent. Through flexible manufacturing, DaimlerChrysler has the opportunity to reduce capital expenditures by 30 percent, he says.
A supplier that can become more flexible with their OEMs will play a vital role in future sourcing, Corrington says, later adding that suppliers have a huge opportunity when it comes to modules, including instrument panels and door panels.
And greater flexibility could be the cure for overcapacity at assembly plants in the United States, he says, allowing for vehicle derivatives, different platforms and a unibody frame instead of a body on frame.
Corrington says, The more flexibility you gain, the more opportunities you have to use that capacity much greater.