@ Supply Chain Management


Will GM go bankrupt again?

There are a select group of chosen companies that seem to go bankrupt again and again – they seem to have a bankruptcy addiction. They just can’t seem to help themselves – someone would think Airlines in this context. I am beginning to think that GM is going to join that select list if such buffoonery is going to be the norm.

What am I referring to?

GM board orders faster new vehicle rollout. A hundred thousand blistering barnacles – was that all there was to it? The woes of GM would be well past us if newer vehicles were to hit the streets faster.

He said the board’s involvement in product decisions seems to show that the new board intends to be more active than the previous one.

No kidding!!! I do hope that employees of GM have a role in this. Never mind.

Meanwhile, as you may very well observe that GM is preparing to fire off its silver bullet – in this case, the Chevy Volt. Observe,

The Volt, due in showrooms late next year, can go 40 miles on a single charge from a home electrical outlet. It has a small internal combustion engine on board to generate electricity for the car beyond that.

He called the Volt a "leap in technology" that no one else has, and said the country needs to move toward electric vehicles.

"I think it will be very successful," he said.

Can the Volt save the company? Maybe. But while its competitors thrive on Continuous Improvement or Kaizen, GM is betting its future on silver bullets. Wouldn’t you say?

Whitacre said the board was interested in pulling more fuel-efficient products forward.

"We’re certainly going that direction of more efficient models," he said. "We’re looking at reliability. We’re looking at efficiency. We certainly will make a major thrust in that direction, but that’s not the only direction we’re going."

The all important question assuming the spectacular success of the Chevy Volt (and that’s a big assumption), is whether the culture of the firm allows for incremental approach to improving their product or will they go back to looking for silver bullets. I’m thinking silver bullets and therefore I’m thinking yet another bankruptcy in the not so near future.

Or maybe it really is the influence of the board that shortens product development life cycles and not repeated (as in continuous) efforts to solving issues that require a company wide effort. Keep a look out for the kind of signals that emanate from GM about five to six months from now and then I think the dice will have been cast.

Category: Personal Observations, Supply Chain Management


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August 2009