Toyota boss Jim Press never fails to get a laugh with his line about the joy that industry people can feel if they just visit maternity wards. "Just remember, each one of those little plastic baskets, those little blue and pink baskets, is 13 or 14 purchase cycles," the president of Toyota Motor North America repeated last week. This time he confided that he really does drop into hospitals on occasion to look at newborns. And he added this happy thought for a National Press Club audience in Washington: "As we're speaking right now, people are creating new customers for us." It was about 1:30 in the afternoon, Eastern time.
EVEN COST CUTTERS NEED A BREAK -- If you're a supplier to General Motors, and the GM purchasing department staffer you usually deal with seems a little more rested lately, there's a reason. Most years, staff members get one week's vacation during the annual shutdown in early July. But this year, GM purchasing boss Bo Andersson gave different orders: Take two weeks. A GM source says it was Andersson's way to show the 4,000 members of the global purchasing department his appreciation for their "tenacity to make GM's turnaround possible." The source says that even Andersson, known for burning the midnight oil in his endless quest to squeeze costs out of the supply chain, managed to get away for a few days --- but not the full two weeks.