He remains one of the most powerful people in the auto business, with control over a global annual purchasing buy of about $85 billion.
He sat down with Staff Reporter Robert Sherefkin to talk about the obstacles and opportunities facing GM’s global purchasing strategy.
Q: How do you contrast GM’s purchasing strategies with those of other North American automakers?
It’s been easier for GM because we have a global reach. I have been doing this for more than 5Â½ years, and they (suppliers) like that we have the same expectations. They like that we have the same metrics, and they like that we are very consistent in our expectations. But we are flexible in our approach on how to get there.
If you are successful in certain segments, like the way we continue to be successful in the truck segment, that helps, right? A lot of this depends on how successful you are with your product strategies and how successful you play that back to the supply base.
Q: GM scored higher in a recent survey of how well it deals with suppliers. Are you satisfied with your supplier relations? How can they be improved?
First, we are not satisfied. I am not satisfied. I’m never going to be satisfied.
What I am happy about is the focused approach that we have been using over the past 5Â½ years. I’m always looking for how to improve. I have been very consistent for 5Â½ years. We may have overstressed on “what” and maybe did not spend enough time on “how.”
There is much more to do. What I don’t like is the variation (from the targets involving Andersson’s four priorities: quality, launch, supply chain and technical/commercial savings). We have variation in the supply base, and I have variation in my global organization. And that’s what they are looking at.
Suppliers are giving us feedback that we have too much variation, how we deal with it.
The second area is on technical savings and commercial savings. I said two out of four we get good ratings on standardized work and less variation. Two out of four we have opportunities. We may have fixed the two easy ones (quality and launch), and we have the two hard ones (supply chain and technical/commercial savings) to fix.