"I guess they put very few Takada airbags in their vehicles?"
That's right. A few Pontiac Vibes (built by the GM/Toyota JV) and a few old Saabs.
In others words, driving the quality system upstream instead of trying to sort the good ones from the bad ones later on in receiving inspection. QS9000 certification became mandatory if a supplier wanted to supply the US auto industry. In time, the Asian and European makers adopted this certification as well.
Things started getting better, at least at GM, with the parts we were receiving. GM also decided that if it was good enough for suppliers, we should make the effort internally as well. Within a few years, all GM locations were certified by the third party registrants initially as well as the yearly re-certification reviews. If a supplier had issues, they were de-certified and that was a pretty serious financial problem for them.
I'm a big supporter of this system. I think it served to put the responsibility of making high quality parts in the right places.
BTW, the other day you brought up the idea of 'computer aided statistics'. I would like some clarification. Who develops the data and how? How do you use the data?
"per wngr, quality has been outsourced to the suppliers leaving the internal gm quality program to the guys on the line to detect/report problems. gm has hundreds of people with “quality” in their title, what do they do? internal gm quality initiatives would have uncovered this sox violation before it exposed it to federal charges!"
'Outsourced' is your word not mine. I don't believe that one company beginning to demand quality parts from the suppliers that they have always paid for 'outsourcing'. About 20 years ago, the operations end of GM finally got fed up with getting parts that didn't fit, didn't function and were generally #$%$. Senior management agreed and removed the supplier quality function from the Quality/Reliability group and assigned it to Purchasing activity. Made sense to me. Why not have the people issuing contracts be responsible both for the source selection and the quality of parts coming from that source, right?
It was truly a learning curve for the purchasing people. Suddenly they were placed in the middle of a barrage of really poor quality purchased parts. Things began improving. They began to see what a non value added and costly activity that receiving inspection operation was. It was the operations people trying to pick out the bad ones from the good ones, and the suppliers trying to slip them past.
An additional input was the advent of the QS9000 certification system. Suppliers were being bombarded by many different requirements on quality standards from each customer and suggested that the US OEMs commonize on quality systems requirements. In the late 80's QS9000 standards become the common system. It forced the suppliers to do many of the things that the OEMs were doing in their own plants in putting together a rational approach to making parts. Things like D/PFMEA's, designing and producing parts with a can't make, can't pass, can't ship mentality, etc.
(to be continued)
"using computer aided statistics versus stopping production line"
'Computer aided statistics' is a pretty broad term. Can you clarify? How are the statistics gathered? How are they used? Who uses them? Etc.
“actually, parts are checked constantly. if a supplier is doing their job then they are not contacted.”
Simply not true. Not for many years.
In the old days (around the mid 80’s) we did receiving inspection…more so in power train plants than in assembly plants. Just consider the logistics, each car has roughly 25K individual parts (more like 10K if you consider up assemblies) and I would guess that individual part numbers received at an assembly plant would be 15K if you consider option proliferation, color coded parts, etc. Multiply that by 1000 cars per day and you begin to get a feel for what would be involved.
In many cases, defective parts present themselves in other ways anyway. In terms of cosmetic or visual defects I have to give a tip of the hat to the people working in assembly. They catch lots of defects on their own and with today’s production systems, can pull an Andon cord or notify their team leader and appropriate action is taken with the supplier.
As I mentioned before on this board, I had the opportunity to spend about 6 months at Delphi (and about 3 more at Visteon). I think I visited nearly every one of their NA and European plants. One thing that surprised me was the consistency of quality systems amongst their customers which included every major OEM in the world. I don’t believe it was always that way. I believe that several years ago, the various OEM supplier quality activities got together and commonized their systems. They basically followed the Toyota system which puts the responsibility for quality on their suppliers rather than playing an un-winable statistics game.
"And just how is the TRUTH going to come out? What would your trusted source be?"
Actually, a pretty good question.
"In criminal court, there is a difference between intent to commit a crime and mere incompetence. I believe you will see that in this case, there will be some of both, but not what you may believe you know."
I'm certainly no lawyer, but I can see Justum's point. Take for instance Ray DeGeorgio, the design engineer for the ignition switch. I would guess that his job description was to provide a switch that functioned within a starter system. It would not be to assess the functionality of the entire system, that responsibility would belong to a higher level engineer.
Looking at the higher level engineer's culpability, there was a failure to connect the dots from a mispositioned ignition switch to a failed air bag deployment. Once this mistake was made, the thing spiraled. There are different protocols in the auto industry to deal with safety vs non-safety problems. This one got into the wrong box. Safety issues get a much higher priority and scrutiny than do non-safety issues. For instance, infrequent engine stalls are not necessarily a safety item. To this point I would agree there was no criminal intent.
At the point that it became known that failed air bag deployment was the result of a mispositioned ignition switch, and the problem not defined as a safety result, I think there may be potential criminal prosecutions. The group that determines this is comprised of a few high level engineers and a lot of lawyers. If anyone is found guilty here, I think there will be lawyers among them.
As usual with the government, innocence or guilt of individuals will not be the point. It is merely the negotiating point of financial liability. The government will try to use it to extract a record breaking fine to make headlines. What they don't know is that if GM can escape a huge fine, they will throw a few lawyers and engineers under the bus in a NY minute.
"Greece hasn't got the money to make June IMF repayment: interior minister". Article from Reuters article today. Better watch this closely. If this goes bad, it will have an affect on every market in the world.
"Thank goodness for the "ignore" function. My suggestion on where to put your shovel still stands."
If it makes you feel better greatday, whoever it is that is annoying you is ignored by me too.
"wngr123, can you recommend a place online where I can read up on that?"
There are a few. One is an article in Forbes from 3/8/10 titled "How GM Destroyed Its Saturn Success". The one part I would emphasize from this version is the fact that Saturn couldn't sustain itself financially so it began to rob other parts of the company for funds.
Another is from the US Dept of Labor titled "Rebuilding the Social Contract at Work: Saturn. This paper only deals with the social aspects of Saturn, not the product nor financial which I think have to be part of the discussion.
Maybe the best one, at least to talk about the practical side of things is a paper written by Jack Falvey titled "WHAT THE MEDIA MISSED: "SATURN - A DIFFERENT KIND OF COMPANY, A DIFFERENT KIND OF CAR" (NOT ANYMORE!)"
If you combine the viewpoints of all of these, I think you'll start to form an idea about what went on.
"Roger Smith, the CEO of GM from 1981 to 1990, does not have a stellar reputation in history. He also was not popular among the brass at GM. He shook the company more than they were comfortable with. Because of this he did not have many friends. "
Roger Smith was not popular with GM brass, that part is true. but it wasn't because he tried to push too much, it was because he made stupid decisions, i.e., EDS, cookie cutter cars, and Saturn others.
"Saturn was Smith's baby."
A common misconception. Saturn was jointly conceived (just like everything else at Saturn) by Smith and Don Ephlin, the VP of the UAW GM Dept. Ephlin was also roundly criticized within the UAW for being part of this. The idea was co-determination. A UAW person worked as a partner with every management person from top to bottom. It was partly driven by the union's concern over small car production going offshore. The experiment was to see if a UAW plant making small cars could compete with the overseas competition. Just as most of GM management was less than thrilled with Saturn, when Steve Yokich was elected President of the UAW he constantly clashed with Mike Bennett, the president of the local union. In the end, Yokich had as much to do with Saturn's downhill slide as GM management did.
Between paralyzed joint decision making, not being able to generate enough cash for model changes, and lack of support from both the UAW and management, Saturn finally died and became part of the "bad" GM in the bankruptcy.
"wngr, I appreciate you trying to respond to my union comments. It is a rare liberal democrat that will answer questions truthfully and honestly. for that I thank you"
Is this your attempt at purposely being annoying? If so, well done.
“Why do you buy shares in publicly traded companies when you have no desire to become a 1 percent - r or successful?”
An unsupported assumption on your part. Seems to be quite a theme with you. Fact is, I typically don’t buy publically traded stocks. Also, why do you assume I am not already a grammatically incorrect “1 percent – r”?
“The GM vehicles are assembled by union members who hate America and Freedom . They are all card carrying far left kommie democrats paid to do the least amount of work at the slowest speeds with 5 extra people per job sitting around while one does the work.”
Aside from your less than impressive diatribe, I doubt whether you have ever actually been in a modern automotive plant, much less work in one. In a normal car assembly plant operating on 2 x 8 hour shifts and assembling around 960 cars per day, the actual Takt time is 55 seconds (I doubt that you are familiar with Takt time, so look it up). This is true for ALL assembly plants, union or not.
Of that 55 seconds, about 95% of that time is content loaded depending on line balance. I can pretty much say with confidence, whatever you do, you don’t work that hard.
If you are at all familiar with my previous posts, you will know that I am not a UAW supporter. If you said they were overpaid, I wouldn’t object. If you say they have terrible leadership, I wouldn’t object. But when you say they don’t work hard, you are simply displaying the fact that you don’t know what you’re talking about.
"wngr , as you are a expert in auto plants can you tell me what would happen to a union member if the big union boss found out they didn't vote for BHO ?"
Yes I can, nothing. I have had shop chairmen tell ME that they didn't vote for BHO. Of course they are encouraged to vote for the union favorite, but nothing would gain them a visit from the NLRB faster than a discriminated worker because of the candidate he voted for.
"What would happen if a union member wanted to come in early for work , work through their lunch hours and stay One or Two hours after the little whistle blows with no extra pay to complete the job they started?"
I have had union people do exactly that, although not in the US. You seem to be confusing the way in which workers are paid in the US. Salaried and management workers are occasionally expected to work casual overtime as demanded by the job. Non exempt employees are REQUIRED to be paid by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. There is case history setting precedence for this as well. There was a famous labor law case of Nordstrom employees suing their employer over the tacit requirement of working beyond 40 hours without compensation. They won.
"They are all card carrying far left kommie democrats paid to do the least amount of work at the slowest speeds with 5 extra people per job sitting around while one does the work."
Be careful, your lack of familiarity with auto plants is on full display.
"Please list all the manufacturers who ALSO don't want to warranty their engines for 100k. C'mon......go ahead....."
To your point, Honda is generally considered to have the best engines in the industry and they have a 5 year/60,000 mile warranty.
"Mallen made the point in 2011 and now you finally have to admit he's right."
Uh no. He said that GM would stop making them. He's wrong because he clearly doesn't understand or have the strategic vision that in required to see the obvious.
1. Once the R&D is a sunk cost on these cars, the only thing that matters in the decision to make or not make is the cash profit, i.e., the cash cost of material and value added content. If the selling price is greater than the cash cost, one would have to be as dumb about these things as Mallen to stop producing them.
2. Even if it is a small cash loss, the car manufacturers have no choice but to continue to develop these cars to meet the 2025 standards. If Mallen has a better idea as to how to meet these standards he should develop it himself and become a billionaire. Based on his vision of oil prices, I'm going to guess he does not have a good idea.
"Leaf sold 1553 copies in the USA last month, which tears the VOLT a new one.
If only every GM model could sell that well."
My point was that if you add ALL PEV and PHEV sales together from ALL manufacturers, they told a little less than 100,000 vehicle which is roughly 0.6% of the US market. People just aren't buying them because there's no payback.
And yet, somehow, if the automakers are to meet the 2025 CAFE standards, they will have to figure out how to sell these more expensive cars to people who don't want them.
"VOLT has been a disappointment from the get go. VOLT owners tend to like their cars very much, but the company never marketed it right and never got anywhere near the 60,000 sales per year anticipated."
I doubt anyone at GM would say they're happy with Volt sales. But I think that that is not peculiar to GM. If you look at the Prius, yes they've sold 55,000 so far this year, but that's down 10% from last year.
Then if you look at the success of pure electrics, it's even worse. Tesla supposedly is going to sell 40,000 globally this year but compare that to a 75 million car market. Leaf sales are miserable as are the others.
This is precisely what's wrong with trying to legislate a market segment. With the 2025 CAFE standards looming, what car maker is not going to pursue electric cars? You simply can't get there with internal combustion engines. They have to develop PHEVs or pure electrics no matter the cost or run the risk of not being in business 10 years from now. They have to spend billions in research, then hope to be able to sell these higher cost electric vehicles that have no payback to customers and for which there is practically no market.
I don't know if GM or anybody else is breaking even or making money on electrics, frankly I doubt it, but if anyone else has an idea that is practical for a 54.5 MPG fleet of cars, bring it up. BTW, 'practical' is the key word here.
"After I lost my job at Saturn all due to GM's incompetence I vowed only to buy Japanese products."
Wasn't Saturn supposed to be a new kind of company? One that was co-run by the UAW and GM. One that was independent from GM management and whose future was self determined. Wasn't that it?
It was a kind of experiment to see if the UAW, working with management could make better decisions. Here's how it turned out...Saturn could never generate enough funds to update their cars so they had the same technology and product lines for too many years. Even so, their cars were over priced and could not compete. Finally GM bailed them out by offering to let them borrow GM's existing platforms, put on their own Saturn trim and call them Saturns. Even that wasn't enough.
The cold hard facts are that the experiment failed, the UAW couldn't operate a car company as well as GM management. I'm sorry if that's a difficult truth for you to face.