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 SAGINAW, Mich., Nov. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Realigning staff functions to more effectively compete in the global marketplace, GM Vice President and Saginaw Division General Manager Donald L. Runkle, today announced sweeping changes to the division's management structure. Effective Dec. 1, the organizational changes will boost the division's ability to respond to its customers' needs around the world.
 "We have placed a high priority on growing our business along with the other six divisions that are part of the General Motors Automotive Components Group - Worldwide," Runkle said. "The changes we announced today put us in a better position to make that happen."
 Runkle said the new organization combines the best parts of the current business unit structure while taking advantage of centralized key functions like product and process engineering, manufacturing, sales and marketing, and quality. "These functions were fragmented under the business units and weakened our technology base," Runkle said. "There's a need to concentrate our resources and expand our common systems and processes in quality, manufacturing, engineering and marketing. Under the new organization we'll be better aligned to accomplish that while retaining the product and customer focus we had with our business units."
 Runkle said the sale of the Final Drive and Forge business unit, announced earlier this year, was a factor in the timing of the reorganization. "Removing nearly one-third of our products, sales and resources from our future planning, prompted us to look at how we could optimize the remaining organization and product lines for maximum growth," he said.
 The new structure provides for 10 functional staffs organized to concentrate resources. They include manufacturing operations; engineering; sales, marketing, planning and ventures; quality, purchasing; European staff; financial; human resources; public affairs; and EDS. Each function will be headed by a director reporting to the general manager who will also serve as part of the divisional executive staff. Each functional staff will be responsible for performing all activities of that function on a division-wide basis.
 New to the organization will be business teams and associated product teams made up of representatives of the various functions with responsibility to integrate specific products and product families. These cross-functional teams will be aligned similarly to the business units with responsibility for systems strategy and product focus.
 There will be six business teams, initially, according to Runkle: Steering Systems; Pumps & Hoses; Gears; Halfshafts; Columns & Intermediate Shafts; and, Aftermarket. Runkle said the decision to add an aftermarket team was based on the potential for growth in that area. Each business team will be championed by a functional staff director.
 "We have built flexibility into the new structure and will make adjustments as we test the effectiveness of our business and product teams. If we need more or fewer, they can be easily added or taken away."
 Each business team will guide product teams, which have direct responsibility for the products that make up the business team's portfolio. "For example," Runkle said, "under the Gears business team, will be a product team for valves, another for rack & pinion gears, and one for integral gears. The team approach will facilitate simultaneous engineering with cross-functional involvement at every step of the product development and manufacturing processes," he said.
 The new organization includes the following executives reporting to Runkle:
 -- Odail Thorns Jr., formerly director of Engine Drive business unit, is the director of manufacturing operations with responsibility for all manufacturing plants, worldwide. He is also product champion for the Halfshaft Business Team.
 -- Thomas C. Angers, formerly director of Steering Systems business unit, is the director of engineering, including both product and manufacturing engineering, worldwide. Angers is also product champion for the Gear Business Team.
 -- Robert J. Zeilinger, formerly director of Columns and Controls business unit, is director of quality, worldwide. He is also champion for the Columns and Intermediate Shafts Business Team.
 -- William R. Herren, formerly director of Final Drive and Forge business unit, is director of sales, marketing, planning and ventures, worldwide. He is also champion for the Steering Systems Business Team. In addition, Herren will continue his business unit responsibilities until the sale to American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM) is completed.
 The following executives will continue to lead their functional staffs with worldwide responsibility.
 -- James A. Smith, director of purchasing.
 -- John H. Monk, director of finance. He is also champion for the Aftermarket Business Team.
 -- Jeffrey K. Kimpan, director of human resources. He is also champion for the Pump & Hoses Business Team.
 -- Gerald E. Holmes, director of public affairs.
 -- Bruce W. Wilson, regional manager of Electronic Data Systems.
 John H. Robinson will continue to direct the activities of the European staff. Because of his proximity to the European manufacturing and engineering sites, he will have day-to-day responsibility for manufacturing, engineering and marketing and planning activities, in concert with the directors of the worldwide functional staffs. He will continue to have direct responsibility for developing new European customers and servicing existing customers.
 Executive responsibility for centralizing and strengthening the division's manufacturing engineering organization will be placed with David M. Baldwin as director of manufacturing engineering. "This new emphasis on manufacturing engineering is a key to Saginaw Division's plans to achieve world class leadership in the areas of product quality, cost and delivery. Baldwin's manufacturing engineering organization will report to Angers in order to place concurrent engineering responsibility in one functional area," Runkle said.
 "Executive responsibility for the flow of materials and parts in and out of our plants will remain with James R. Connor, director of production control and logistics, and will be aligned under manufacturing operations, reporting to Thorns," according to Runkle.
 The reorganization has been designed to cause as little disruption as possible to the day-to-day operations of the division. "Even though some people will have new reporting relationships, their jobs will remain the same until further adjustments are made in the near future. Consolidation of the engineering group does not mean people will be pulled out of the plants, for example," he said. "They will be physically located where they need to be."
 Runkle said the new organization will improve the communication process by eliminating the barriers across the division. "Everything is designed to reduce levels of communication and enhance cross-divisional teamwork. As the new organization evolves over the next few weeks, Saginaw Division will be better equipped to compete in the global marketplace."
 -0- 11/24/93
 /CONTACT: G.E. Holmes of Saginaw Division, 517-757-4005/

CO: General Motors Corporation; Saginaw Division ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU: RCN

ML-KT -- DE014 -- 7658 11/24/93 13:03 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 24, 1993

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