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Supply Chain Redesign Requires Open Communication! – Lessons from GM’s OTD Supplier Council

I attended a meeting of the General Motors Order-to-Delivery Supplier Council, led by Dick Alagna, Director of OTD-Purchasing on September 10, 2002. The meeting was held at General Motors University in Pontiac, Michigan, and attended by sales and program managers from a number of large Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 Automotive suppliers.

Some of the companies represented included Lear Seating, Johnson Controls, Bethlehem Steel, ALPS Automotive, Progressive Molding, Delphi, Bosch, Magna, and Denso. More importantly, the meeting was also attended by other senior Directors from within GM’s internal supply chain – an occurrence that is difficult to arrange! Directors from Global Aftermarket Supply (SPO), Production, Control, and Logistics (PC&L), Material – GM Powertrain (Warren), PC&L – GM Powertrain, Logistics, and Order Fulfillment functions attended.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss some of the key initiatives that are underway at GM to improve integration amongst internal planning within GM, as well as with incoming material, logistics, planning, and supply chain design with suppliers. I made a presentation to the group that emphasized some of the key insights from my new book just released in September – “Supply Chain Redesign” – published by Prentice Hall / Financial Times. The point made in this presentation is that to effectively achieve Supply Chain Redesign, a truly collaborative approach among customers and suppliers is critical to success. Collaboration occurs through one means: clear and open communication between the parties.

Some of the key initiatives that were presented at the meeting included:

  • Container Logistics Issues
  • Reducing Premium Freight Costs
  • Improved Communication With Suppliers
  • Supply Chain Redesign Experiment