Auto Industry: History, Performance, Assessments and Outlooks
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Auto Industry: Pressures, Changes & Outlook - Finding V1
Posted by dblwyo on April 23, 2008When Lee Iaccoa was booted to Chrysler he managed to save them with a combination of aninnovative new product (the Minivan - which Ford had turned down), draconian cost controlsand product manufacturing rationalization on shared platforms. In the process the US gov'tactually made a profit on its' bailout funds. Yet over the next three decades Chrysler hascycled in and out of profitability depending on whether or not it had a hit for a few years. Fromthe auto company known for the sustained excellence of their engineering and product theybecame the boom-n-bust kids. And that's despite several extremely innovative transformationalefforts that deservedly made the Harvard business case files. This includes a revamp of thedesign process using CAD/CAM technology, re-structuring the inbound supply chain andsupplier relationship management processes and similar major innovations. What it didn'tmanage to do was change the fundamental DNA of the company - the processes, culture,decision-making processes.In a way Chrysler's story,suitably modified, is thestory of the Detroit autoindustry - once theexemplar for manufacturingexcellence, product designand development, qualityand customer focus. Howlong has it been since anyof those have been true, atleast generally?
So after "coasting" for those same three decades on its' historical legacies the industry is facing a huge amalgamation of challenges: inefficient and broken processes,cost pressures, lack of manufacturing quality,products that customers,shall we say, don't love and nearly tone-deaf marketing, sales and service. The greatest irony of all is that the Industry knew and knows all this but could't find ways and reasons to change.