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NAO TECH CENTER STRENGTHENS GM PRODUCTS

 TRAVERSE CITY, Mich., Aug. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- General Motors' (NYSE: GM) NAO Technical Center is taking a significant role in strengthening the company's products, Gerald A. Collins, director of one of its units, told the University of Michigan's Automotive Management Briefing here today.
 As a central resource for GM's North American Operations, the NAO Technical Center is now organized into four primary centers, he explained: Design, Engineering, Manufacturing, and Research and Development. Each develops expertise and deploys resources to GM's operating divisions.
 "As individual centers, we have some star talent. Taken together, we have one powerful team," he said. "Because our technical community is now organized around vehicle issues, we can be more responsive to GM's vehicle platforms, and ultimately to the final customers."
 "GM's NAO product development process begins with a comprehensive review of customer needs," he said. "In essence, GM now develops the entire product plan at the NAO level, then promotes strong brand equity through given product assignments."
 Collins, who is director of GM's Vehicle Launch Center, explained the role of this new unit in building teamwork and a customer focus at the NAO Technical Center.
 "All new major product programs start out at the Vehicle Launch Center," he said. The platform organizations "own and manage" the programs and are responsible for execution; NAO Technical Center engineers join platform personnel at the Launch Center "to get programs off to a great start."
 "The Launch Center is a process, not just a place," he noted. "It's a way to focus our best technical resources and tools on the product. This is critical, especially since the early stages of a product program determine 70 percent of the program's timing, cost, quality and customer satisfaction levels."
 The Launch Center also facilitates best and common practices across NAO, shared learning among vehicle programs, and the elimination of redundant activities, Collins said. "We can reduce variation in vehicle development through our four-phase process, decreasing cycle time and improving quality."
 Programs leave the Launch Center and return to the "home base" locations of the platforms after "Phase O" concept approval, he said. "But the teamwork continues through development and long after the first car or truck rolls off the line. For the remaining product development phases, the NAO Technical Center lends divisional support in areas such as proving ground testing, safety and environment, and continuous improvement at the plants."
 -0- 8/5/93
 /CONTACT: J.P. Bishop of General Motors, 313-986-5715/
 (GM)


CO: General Motors Corporation ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:

ML -- DE004 -- 9731 08/05/93 09:07 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 5, 1993
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