Former GM Exec Tells What It Took To Improve Quality

  1. Welcome to GM Inside News Forum General discussion forum for GM

    Welcome to GM Inside News Forum - a website dedicated to all things GM.

    You are currently viewing our forum as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our community, at no cost, you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is free, fast and simple, Join GM Inside News Forum today!
     
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 35

Thread: Former GM Exec Tells What It Took To Improve Quality

  1. #1
    News Contributor Premium Member Perian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    8,257
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 2,783 Times in 1,037 Posts
    My Ride
    2017 Jaguar F-Type (Manual)

    Former GM Exec Tells What It Took To Improve Quality

    Road & Track magazine
    June 14, 2019




    Bob Lutz Talks Panel Gaps and Why Every Detail Matters

    How important gaps and flushness in the real world? The body and its apertures are all just as functional with uneven gaps on either side of the hood or deck. In fact, the Detroit Three, until about 15 years ago, routinely delivered cars and trucks with appalling gaps, often as wide as 8mm on one side, 2mm on the other. As long as there was no chipped paint from the door hitting its frame, it was fine.

    I once described one American employer's cars as "looking like a squadron of related panels going down the road in loose formation." But again, does it really matter? Customers may not visit showrooms with gap gauges, but they do unconsciously register the harmony and "one-ness" of a car with gaps so narrow that it looks like a seamless shape. It's a visual manifestation of precision, care, and thus, quality.

    Volkswagen, in the eighties, was the first Western producer to out-do the Japanese in assembly precision. I asked then-CEO Ferdinand Pich how they did it: "I got all the production execs in a room and told them they had six weeks to achieve consistent 4mm gaps or they'd all be fired. It was easy!" I humbly suggested this, er, "leadership style" would not be appropriate in the US, and thus, never tried it.

    But upon my return to GM In 2001, I found that shaming worked just as well. I had assembled most of the GM products at the proving ground and flanked them with role models from Germany (surprisingly not the best), Japan (better, but second) and Korea (the world's best.) I lead the cluster of proud GM execs from car to car until the enormous, Harley-jacketed Joe Spielman—then president of assembly—literally grabbed me by the collar and said "Enough of this crap! Just show me what you want, and I'll get it for you, guaranteed!" The initial story was that it would take time, and millions for new assembly equipment, which I was ready to approve.

    Strangely, within a few months, all GM vehicles were within striking distance of the world's best (and still are today.) And I never saw the request for capital. Years later, I asked Spielman how that had happened. "Well," he explained, "when we discussed it with the lower-level operating supervisors and the skilled-trade hourly folks, they told us they could do it... it's just nobody has ever asked for it before, so they didn't think it mattered."










    .

  2. Remove Advertisements
    GM Inside News
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    News Contributor Premium Member Perian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    8,257
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 2,783 Times in 1,037 Posts
    My Ride
    2017 Jaguar F-Type (Manual)

    Re: Former GM Exec Tells What It Took To Improve Quality

    I once described one American employer's cars as "looking like a squadron of related panels going down the road in loose formation."
    Who doesn't love Bob Lutz?









    .

  4. The Following 13 Users Say Thank You to Perian For This Useful Post:

    1958carnut (06-14-2019),1999 White C5 Coupe (06-14-2019),DequindreToo (06-14-2019),Evo69 (06-14-2019),jzchev28 (06-14-2019),ksss (06-16-2019),Murrow (06-15-2019),NoStopN (06-16-2019),rand49er (06-15-2019),richmond2000 (06-15-2019),Rumpole (06-16-2019),yamahr1 (06-15-2019),Z284ever (06-14-2019)

  5. #3
    6.0 Liter L76 V8
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Posts
    2,136
    Thanks
    585
    Thanked 1,055 Times in 655 Posts

    Re: Former GM Exec Tells What It Took To Improve Quality

    "Well," he explained, "when we discussed it with the lower-level operating supervisors and the skilled-trade hourly folks, they told us they could do it... it's just nobody has ever asked for it before, so they didn't think it mattered."
    And Management was at the Lead. The whole 80's "You will drive what We build" attitude of GM.

  6. Remove Advertisements
    GM Inside News
    Advertisements
     

  7. #4
    5.3 Liter Vortec V8 sdotjeezy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Posts
    1,475
    Thanks
    428
    Thanked 1,260 Times in 634 Posts

    Re: Former GM Exec Tells What It Took To Improve Quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Perian View Post
    Who doesn't love Bob Lutz?









    .
    Shareholders?
    My Rides:
    '19 Buick Enclave
    '07 Dodge Magnum SRT-8
    '19 Mazda 6


    Hidden Content

  8. #5
    GMI Staff Member Premium Member Envoy4Life's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Detroit, MI
    Posts
    21,380
    Thanks
    3,634
    Thanked 6,507 Times in 3,763 Posts
    My Ride
    2016 Cadillac CTS Performance

    Re: Former GM Exec Tells What It Took To Improve Quality

    If GM wants better quality control and better interiors, hire me. I'm down.

    I'll gladly give up flying to help bring my former favorite car company in the world back to the top, where it belongs.
    Current:

    2016 Cadillac CTS4 2.0T Performance

    2006 GMC Envoy SLT 4x4

    Hidden Content Originally Posted by Greg.Botts Hidden Content
    LOL at all the FORD fans in this thread thinking they got a one up. This is the Yukon Denali and trust me it's going to blow away the Navigator. Escalade is gunning for RR/Bentley level of interiors and beyond. I've talked to someone about this on another site that confirmed it Navigator isn't even being bench-marked at Cadillac too low for them.
    ^GOLD^

    Hidden Content

  9. #6
    1.4 Liter Turbocharged ECOTEC
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    82
    Thanks
    152
    Thanked 91 Times in 47 Posts
    My Ride
    2018 Cadillac ATS AWD V6

    Re: Former GM Exec Tells What It Took To Improve Quality

    Bob needs to be sent to Tesla:


  10. The Following User Says Thank You to rougeriver For This Useful Post:

    Evo69 (06-14-2019)

  11. #7
    2.4 Liter SIDI ECOTEC
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    330
    Thanks
    228
    Thanked 343 Times in 144 Posts

    Re: Former GM Exec Tells What It Took To Improve Quality

    Now move to the interiors and fire all the current bean-counter. Just because you saved a few $ on a trim or an engine part doesn't mean it's all good. The repercussions down the road will cost more at the end of the fiscal year.
    I always believed that their engineers are the best in the industry, but they got "killed" by the bureaucracy, cheapness, clueless management and politics.
    Stop the crap with 10 engines paired with 5 transmissions on 15 trim levels ! One 8 speed seems to be working fine for Ram/Challenger. I see Toyota selling 14 year old tech for the same price as the brand new Silverados.

    I'll buy another GM in a heartbeat, if you fix them ! Most reliable cars I ever drove - 1991 Buick Roadmaster (~500.000km) and 2008 Chevy Cobalt (165.000km)

  12. The Following User Says Thank You to canadian.bacon For This Useful Post:

    tnmats (06-17-2019)

  13. #8
    R2-D2 Astromech Droid Premium Member Neanderthal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    A sunny cave in Transylvania
    Posts
    33,873
    Thanks
    7,982
    Thanked 6,430 Times in 4,021 Posts
    My Ride
    17 Soul&/01 PT LTD/15 JD130

    Re: Former GM Exec Tells What It Took To Improve Quality

    Quote Originally Posted by canadian.bacon View Post
    Now move to the interiors and fire all the current bean-counter. Just because you saved a few $ on a trim or an engine part doesn't mean it's all good. The repercussions down the road will cost more at the end of the fiscal year.
    I always believed that their engineers are the best in the industry, but they got "killed" by the bureaucracy, cheapness, clueless management and politics.
    Stop the crap with 10 engines paired with 5 transmissions on 15 trim levels ! One 8 speed seems to be working fine for Ram/Challenger. I see Toyota selling 14 year old tech for the same price as the brand new Silverados.

    I'll buy another GM in a heartbeat, if you fix them ! Most reliable cars I ever drove - 1991 Buick Roadmaster (~500.000km) and 2008 Chevy Cobalt (165.000km)
    Bureaucracy gone unchecked. It will kill ANYTHING. Private, government, whatever.

    This is a sad tale of a totally disconnected "management team" sitting around twirling on their thumbs Upstairs congratulating each other. "Nobody asked." JHC.
    2017 Soul &, Titanium

    Where liberty dwells, there is my country. Benjamin Franklin

    The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. Thomas Jefferson

    Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content

  14. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Neanderthal For This Useful Post:

    1958carnut (06-14-2019),Evo69 (06-14-2019)

  15. #9
    3.0 Liter SIDI V6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    556
    Thanks
    91
    Thanked 150 Times in 69 Posts

    Re: Former GM Exec Tells What It Took To Improve Quality

    Quote Originally Posted by sdotjeezy View Post
    Shareholders?
    Exide Batteries?

  16. #10
    6.2 Liter LS9 Supercharged V8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    St. George, Ut.
    Posts
    8,752
    Thanks
    10,698
    Thanked 2,904 Times in 1,890 Posts
    My Ride
    2016 Nissan Rogue SV AWD

    Re: Former GM Exec Tells What It Took To Improve Quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Perian View Post
    Who doesn't love Bob Lutz?









    .
    Sadly, GM could stand to have a few more like him today still.

  17. #11
    R2-D2 Astromech Droid Premium Member mbukukanyau's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Carlsbad Commiefornia
    Posts
    29,284
    Thanks
    4,598
    Thanked 6,597 Times in 3,202 Posts
    My Ride
    2013 Traverse | 2018 Fusion
    Reuss has dropped the materials ball.
    Last edited by mbukukanyau; 06-14-2019 at 10:14 PM.

  18. The Following User Says Thank You to mbukukanyau For This Useful Post:

    tnmats (06-17-2019)

  19. #12
    R2-D2 Astromech Droid bballr4567's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    17,355
    Thanks
    2,105
    Thanked 4,242 Times in 2,440 Posts
    My Ride
    2016 Camaro 1LT V6 M6

    Re: Former GM Exec Tells What It Took To Improve Quality

    Quote Originally Posted by 1958carnut View Post
    Sadly, GM could stand to have a few more like him today still.
    Why? He had some pretty good Ls out there as well. He just managed to put out some great Ws as well. He just made GM rethink what it meant to build a car to a standard. I loved my 2000 Formula but it's quality was an absolute joke and the bad part is GM knew the issues but just didn't care to fix them.

  20. The Following User Says Thank You to bballr4567 For This Useful Post:

    sdotjeezy (06-14-2019)

  21. #13
    R2-D2 Astromech Droid Premium Member Neanderthal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    A sunny cave in Transylvania
    Posts
    33,873
    Thanks
    7,982
    Thanked 6,430 Times in 4,021 Posts
    My Ride
    17 Soul&/01 PT LTD/15 JD130

    Re: Former GM Exec Tells What It Took To Improve Quality

    I've worked the line. If I had been putting together stuff that left the line looking like a squadron of related panels going down the road in loose formation I'd have said something to someone.

    "Hey boss. These cars look like . Why don't we tighten things up a bit, so at least they're symmetrical?"

    This speaks not only to disassociated top management but to all the lower level guys, from bolt-spinners on up the chain of incompetence and apathy.
    2017 Soul &, Titanium

    Where liberty dwells, there is my country. Benjamin Franklin

    The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. Thomas Jefferson

    Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content

  22. #14
    6.2 Liter LS9 Supercharged V8 richmond2000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Winterpeg
    Posts
    8,564
    Thanks
    9,450
    Thanked 1,621 Times in 1,161 Posts
    My Ride
    2014 RAM 1500 HEMI

    Re: Former GM Exec Tells What It Took To Improve Quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Neanderthal View Post
    I've worked the line. If I had been putting together stuff that left the line looking like a squadron of related panels going down the road in loose formation I'd have said something to someone.

    "Hey boss. These cars look like . Why don't we tighten things up a bit, so at least they're symmetrical?"

    This speaks not only to disassociated top management but to all the lower level guys, from bolt-spinners on up the chain of incompetence and apathy.
    add in LOW morals and a lot of the assemblers are there to get the check and NO FURTHER
    the OLD question do you DRIVE WHAT YOU BUILD?

    I wewnt to the Harley Davidson engine plant years ago and up front there was a parking lot for HARLEYS ONLY - right next to the gate in and it WAS FULL of hogs NEW ones OLD ones ETC

  23. The Following User Says Thank You to richmond2000 For This Useful Post:

    Neanderthal (06-15-2019)

  24. #15
    3.6 Liter SIDI V6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Newark DE
    Posts
    1,063
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 115 Times in 80 Posts

    Re: Former GM Exec Tells What It Took To Improve Quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Neanderthal View Post
    I've worked the line. If I had been putting together stuff that left the line looking like a squadron of related panels going down the road in loose formation I'd have said something to someone.

    "Hey boss. These cars look like . Why don't we tighten things up a bit, so at least they're symmetrical?"

    This speaks not only to disassociated top management but to all the lower level guys, from bolt-spinners on up the chain of incompetence and apathy.
    THis is what happens when you come to work, not to do something, but to collect a paycheck. Having known several people who worked for GM and Chrysler in both line and managerial positions during the 70s and 80s, I heard a lot about "mailing it in

  25. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Z16monte For This Useful Post:

    1958carnut (06-15-2019),Neanderthal (06-15-2019),richmond2000 (06-15-2019)

  26. Remove Advertisements
    GM Inside News
    Advertisements
     

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.1.2