DETROIT -- "Downsizing." "Buyouts." "Layoffs."
Those are three words common in the auto industry; and, if the predictions of consolidation and financial pressure among suppliers hold true, we'll be hearing them a lot in the future, too.
Since March, the Society of Automotive Engineers has been working to combat what it sees as a talent drain in the industry. SAE is matching retired and out-of-work experts in the auto industry - engineers, executives and others - with automakers and suppliers in need of short-time help. SAE calls its service the Automotive Resources Institute. Neil Schilke, the institute's managing director, says 37 people have been registered as consultants.
Three auto suppliers have used the service, Schilke says. One of the companies -- Hella North America Inc. -- has had four projects "primarily in the quality assurance area," he says. Nineteen other suppliers have made inquires or made requests for help.
"We're not a McKinsey, a Pricewaterhouse or one of those ventures," says Schilke, referring to consultancies McKinsey & Co. and PricewaterhouseCoopers. "We want to get in and get out."
Schilke, a retired General Motors engineering executive and former SAE president, says participants must go through an eight-step registration process involving interviews and references.
The service is not free. The application fee is $300. A payment of $650 is due as the first installment of the registration fee, with another $650 due when a candidate gets his or her first assignment. There also is a $500 annual renewal fee, which is waived if yearly income from jobs is less than $5,000.
You may e-mail Chaz Osburn at