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Be nice to the marketing folks.

"Increasingly, what your brand stands for and what your product stands for is going to become just as important--if not more important--that the product itself." That remarkable statement is made by Umar Riaz, partner with Accenture (New York). Fundamentally, Riaz argues, vehicle manufacturers are improving pretty much across the board. Or, as it is put in consultantese:

1. Converging Operational Competitiveness. Gaps in automakers' operational performance in such areas as quality and productivity are shrinking

2. Increasing Product Competitiveness. Accelerating product cycles are increasing intense product competition and higher levels of spending on advertising and incentives One remarkable set of figures that Accenture has put together from various sources compares the amount of money spent in 2003 by Ford, GM, and OCX on global product development versus advertising and incentives: $20.2-billion to develop the cars and trucks; $46.5-billion to persuade people to buy them.

"Companies have to be operationally excellent," Riaz insists. "If you don't have the capabilities to do flexible manufacturing or global product development across platforms, then you are not going to be competitive." But that's not enough any more, he maintains.

"We believe more and more companies' ability to market and sell are going to become more important," Riaz says.--GSV
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Title Annotation:WIP
Publication:Automotive Design & Production
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2004
Words:206
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