DETROIT - The man with the task of reinvigorating Dana Corp. has begun by shaking up the department that last year bought $6 billion in parts and material.
CEO Mike Burns wants to show Wall Street that a reorganization in the purchasing department of the 100-year-old supplier can drive stronger financial results.
The rising price of steel "puts a lot of pressure on us to move quicker," Burns last week told a group of Automotive News editors and reporters.
"The positive side is that we have the ability to do it because it has not been addressed to the extent of some other companies."
Burns and Purchasing Vice President Paul Miller are condensing hundreds of purchasing groups to a single worldwide buying unit. They also are searching the globe for lower prices and saying goodbye to long-time vendors.
Burns, the former president of General Motors Europe, said Dana's costs are too high.
The Dana restructuring begun by his predecessor, Joe Magliochetti, in 2001 "was pretty hard on the people and facilities side of the business," Burns said. "But we didn't work as hard on purchasing. The heavy lifting is still on the purchasing side of business."
Burns, 52, said the efficiency of Dana's purchasing department is on a par with the Big 3 10 years to 15 years ago.
Burns spent 34 years with GM before joining the Toledo, Ohio, supplier in March.
"As soon as I got this job, I went after Paul," Burns said.
Burns is so focused on purchasing that he made Miller a direct report to his office.
Miller, 52, had been with Delphi Packard Electric Systems in Warren, Ohio.
Dana's restructuring has reduced the company's size from $10.1 billion in global original equipment sales in 1999 to $7.92 billion last year.
Dana ranks No. 6 on the Automotive News list of the top 150 suppliers to North America with North American original-equipment automotive parts sales of $5.54 billion in 2003.