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Design for Manufacturability.

Today, manufacturers are looking across the extended enterprise to create designs that can be brought to market quickly, and to keep up with ever-increasing customer expectations.

Not too long ago, many U.S. manufacturers seemed to be on the ropes, struggling to keep up with nimble competitors from overseas. But that situation has changed dramatically, as manufacturers have employed new approaches and new technologies to steadily increase productivity, quality, and flexibility.

However, as participants in this Chief Executive roundtable point out, manufacturers still have a long way to go on the journey to being flexible and lean. To a great extent, that's because the bar is constantly being raised. As GE's CEO Jack Welch once told the guests at a Chief Executive dinner, "This is a very sensitive time for U.S. manufacturing, because we've accomplished so much in such a short amount of time." He felt that the great danger for GE was complacency--that is, that the company

Design for Manufacturability thought it had solved all its problems and was on top of the world. Such an attitude, of course, can make a company vulnerable to changing markets and fast competitors.

Today, leading manufacturers are continuing to push the envelope, and exploring the concept of design for manufacturability. By working across functional boundaries and across the value chain, leaders are finding ways to design and manufacture products with increasing speed and higher quality--and perhaps most important, enhancing their ability to give the customer what he or she wants.

THE BIG PICTURE

J. Thomas Williams (Thomas Group): Our topic today, "Design for Manufacturability," is not only timely, it will also clearly shape the next millennium. It will shape our ability to respond with speed to our markets and achieve the highest levels of competitiveness.

In our experience, there are seven recurring points that can help guide design for manufacturability, and I'd like to share those:

* One, set the transfer criteria early in the design cycle.

* Two, set the transfer criteria's development process gate and enforce it brutally, avoiding creeping elegance. People always want to make things better while they're in the development process, and what happens is your time to market is late--and most of your margin is in that first phase of getting to market, so delaying erodes that.

* Three, involve manufacturing early in setting the criterion. We worked for a former client that had the best research facilities in their entire segment. But they never got their manufacturing people involved. So the design people came out with the best offerings, but the manufacturing organization could not deliver the products. And that company had had a 50 percent market share, which dropped to a nine percent market share, and it's struggling to survive.

* Four, make design for manufacturability a development process deliverable, and measure it.

* Five, apply digital parts description for ease of transfer and discipline of description of information between development and manufacturing. The ability to communicate clearly is important in passing the data and information back and forth, so that things don't get lost in the translation. As the new technologies emerge, there are a lot of opportunities to improve the effectiveness of communication.

* Six, seek reusable technology wherever possible, versus a new design for every component. People are often looking for a new design, because the technician values it greatly, but reusable components are an important element for stabilizing and getting to market quickly.

* Seven, incorporate in the development phase the real capabilities and capacities of your logistics, supply and manufacturing base--because it isn't the ideal that is crucial, it's what you can actually bring to the market.

Now, applying the above list is certainly beneficial. But beyond that, two newer thrusts come to mind: First, managing variability. Design for manufacturing requires balance on the boundary between manufacturing and design, and process stability in manufacturing. Second, you need to radically rethink integration of your supply and logistics chains into the process from the beginning of the design. This involves a shift of suppliers from servants to partners. I think there's still a lot of opportunity left in moving further into the supply chain, because as we know, that is where the cost and the time is tied up very early.

Larry D. Smith (Phillips Plastics): We probably need to expand the scope and look at the entire value chain. We need to service our customer. As a contract manufacturer, we try to get involved very early on in the concept stage to understand what our customers' needs are. Our customers are the OEM suppliers--but that value chain also includes their ultimate customers. So we have to look at the entire process if we're all going to win in this. When we talk about supply chain management, we're often looking backwards or downstream to our suppliers, versus at the total supply stream, the total value chain. We will fail if we don't broaden the scope of our perspective to look at that total value chain.

This has to be a winwin; we can all hang together, or we can all hang separately. So a good deal has to be good for everybody. We need to build partnerships and alliances and trusts. Too many times, when we hear about lean manufacturing, that translates into mean manufacturing.

John D. Bowlin (Miller Brewing): In our industry, it would really help to add complexities as late in the production cycle as possible, or as late in the value system as possible. That allows you to do things with mass customization. I would also point to improved forecasting throughout the whole value chain. Nothing adds to waste more than bad forecasting. So doing a great job on a low-cost basis, but making the wrong product at the wrong time, just obsoletes everything you've done.

Fred Bauer (Gentex): We find a lot of people kind of bemoaning how they are treated by their customer, and they forget how they are treating their supplier. I think it's important for us to practice what we preach. If we want to be treated more fairly, then it's up to us to pass it down. So I have the attitude that suppliers are your friends--you start with that.

Now that doesn't mean that you can just go gullibly into the meeting and lay your bankroll on the desk and walk out, because we all know what may happen in that case. You have to have a balanced approach to it, and really get to learn your supplier and how far they can be trusted. But I do think getting rid of adversarial relationships and promoting more teamwork in the supplier-customer relationship is really important to progress.

How you treat your suppliers will have a lot to do with how they treat you.

John Doddridge (Intermet):

We're really talking about value added--about having a product that adds value and fits the need. If you tear a [computer] tower apart and look at it, it's a very complex product that's very simple. Anyone could take a board out and plug in a new one. In the case of automobiles, I wonder if we haven't created too much complexity. I think simplicity is terribly important. The product might be very, very complex, but we need to make it very, very simple. As a consumer, I would like to be able to take a car that was five years old, and pop out the seats and put new seats in. Or if I have a gauge that's not working, just pop it out and put in a new one. And I think this is an area where we can add value and change the way we think.

Terry D. Growcock (Manitowoc): We have to get engineering to fully understand the need for modularity, and make sure that we do not create parts just to be able to create drawings. We've got to use the same parts in our products wherever possible. That allows us to manufacture faster, and it allows us to design faster. And I think it's our job as CEOs to get everybody to rally around that factor.

Roger Phillips (IPSCO): I think design for manufacturability should be extended, and will become extended, into design for recyclabiity, My company consumes a couple of million tons a year of ground-up steel, a lot of it old automobiles. I think that the design concepts have to include the ability to disassemble the vehicles better, and look at the kinds of raw materials that are mixed in. I don't know how many millions of tons of plastic fluff end up in landfill sites in America every year because the plastics used in automobiles can't be taken out easily, so they just junk the combinations of metals and alloys that don't mix well together. So I think a continuation of the topic of manufacturability has to be recyclability.

REACHING ACROSS BOUNDARIES

Leland L. Grubb, Jr. (Thomas Group): It's really responsiveness to the customer with both quality and cost that's going to make you win or lose in this game. In order to do that, you've got to reduce your cycle time or your design experience, whether it be engineering or design development. As you reduce your cycle time of design, what you get are fewer final changes. You get your investment closer to the customer, and you get the design closer to what the customer wants. So the shorter the time in design development, the better off you're going to be in manufacturability.

Richard E. Dauch (American Axle & Manufacturing): Today, the consumer wants his or her product to have its own unique identity, yet be made in mass production, so you have to change the methodology....When you talk about production control and logistics, if you're handling literally millions of parts a day, you have to have two things: repeatability and predictability. You need a methodology to get that. Otherwise you're going to put in waste into the system that just can't be eradicated.

Also, in design for manufacturability, you truly have to get the people who are process-oriented in with the designers in the studios upfront, or you're going to have a tremendous waste flow that you can't cut out later. Also, I've always felt that designers and engineers should have a chance to work a minimum of two years in the production manufacturing arena, and see where the final product gets produced, and see the things that they influence but aren't ultimately responsible for. It's sort of the question of how close your fanny is to the heat: It will motivate you if you get real close to the final product.

Bauer: I think I would add to that that purchasing guys ought to work a couple years in production also. [Laughter] I think it gives them a new appreciation.

John W. Paxton (Teixon): We instituted a process we call "design to cost," and it really enhances manufacturability. The executives decide where they want to run the company to, including the gross margins. Then we take the price that we're going to sell the product at, and we back that into a financial model. That sets the cost target for the engineering people.

Something else we do is have four people sign off on an engineering drawing. We have the design engineer sign off, We have a quality and reliability engineer that signs off. He's responsible for all the tests, all the environmental exposures, and all the test procedures. A manufacturing engineer signs off. He's responsible for manufacturability of the product. And we have the product line manager sign off--he makes sure all the training for the sales organization and all the collateral material is done. Using that process, your chances of success in releasing a product with minimal quality and reliability problems is increased.

A. Malachi Mixon III (Invacare): We happen to be the largest maker of wheelchairs in the world. We make them with over a million possible permutations, and we deliver them in five days from the second the order comes in.... We've been blessed to maintain a union-free company in the United States, which gives us that flexibility. We do a lot of cross-training, we pay for performance, we can make the changes and do the things that we have to do to beat our competitors who are unionized. All of our associates own stock in the company. They come into a [facility] that's clean; it's a safe place to work; people have direct access to management. We have no assigned parking places. We de-emphasize status. And I just hope and pray that as we continue to get larger, we can maintain that kind of flexibility in people, which really makes the difference.

Bowlin: It's great to have a multifunctional team where engineering, tech research, marketing, and sales all work together. But if you don't start with fixing a fundamental consumer need or want, then the whole thing's a bit of a game, and things will be suboptimized.

Kenneth L. Way (Lear): I'm glad to hear you talk about the customer. In the automotive industry, there's a shift in the manufacturing process to the suppliers. Now, with that comes the responsibility to move up front with the customers. We're doing benchmark studies, customer wants/needs studies on our particular products that the OEMs did not focus on. I think that's bringing a better product. We're also investing in test and validation that we didn't have before. Once we do the customer wants and needs, we bring that into the design process, the design for manufacturing and assembly. If you design it right, you can't put that hinge on backwards, or you can't manufacture that product wrong--and you can eliminate a lot of costs.

Steve Barnes (Dade Behring): One of the things we're doing is not only designing for manufacturability, but designing for commercial success. Our core team developing the product has a functional leader from every part of the business who is full-time on that project, all the way through the first year of commercial success. When people actually have to go out and be with the customer to make sure that that product is viable and reliable and competitive, it's a big learning.

PARTNERSHIPS IN ACTION

J.P. Donlon (CE) Some of you here today are suppliers to the nation's largest employer and largest retailer, Wal-Mart. What lessons have you drawn from that experience?

Paxton: We're the largest supplier to Wal-Mart of bar-coding reading, mobile computing, and in-store and in-warehouse wireless communication systems, and we find that working with Wal-Mart really is a partnership. We send our product line managers right out to the Wal-Mart stores, and they ride in the warehouse trucks they work in the warehouse at night using the equipment. We get down to the actual user, talking to the personnel on the floor who are going to use our product, and get all their inputs. We design the product to meet their application. And I think that's helped us tremendously in the area of producing what the customer wants, and in increasing the product's reliability and quality.

Frank E. Weise III (Cott): We supply carbonated soft drinks to Wal-Mart Corporation, and we've found that they are in-credibly efficient in supply chain operations. We actually go in and read the inventories of soft drinks to see what they have in all their warehouses across the United States. We know exactly how much we have to produce to get into that warehouse on time.

Wal-Mart is interested in eliminating everything that doesn't add value to the supply chain, so we're into cross-stocking our products, which essentially means we take a load of products to their dock, and it never goes in the warehouse. Another truck comes and takes it right to a store. And again, we read their orders every day over the Internet, so we know exactly what's required.

Edward C. Emma (Jockey International): Wal-Mart is a good example because they are so demanding. They expect tremendous customer service, and I think it's really challenged our company to raise the bar. In terms of strategic thinking, we've got to find a way to link up with other of our customers, and also we've got to be able to make some of our information transparent to our customers--P.O. information and things like that. That ties in with the whole Internet strategy.

The other thing is that Wal-Mart has tremendous expectations in terms of delivery of new products. Most new products in our industry really take almost a year from design to shipment. But frequently Wal-Mart will say, 'We're interested in this product, but we want it in six months." So that has challenged us to increase the speed of our value chain to respond.

Phillip C. Yeager (Hub Group): I was with Ted Wade, the vice president of purchasing for Wal-Mart, last week. I was complaining that we were not getting enough business, and he said, "Well, have you provided value added?" I said, "Yes, we have." And he said, "Have you differentiated your product?" I had to think about it, and said, "I don't think we have." But I said to him, "I want to see you within the next two weeks," and we are going to sit down. I think that differentiation of product is a vital thing in any partnership situation. You can't just be doing the same things that your competition is doing. You've got to do them better and you've got to differentiate.

Raymond C. Burton, Jr. (TTX): Two-thirds of all the vehicles imported or made in North America travel by rail, and one of the problems in rail service is the longitudinal and lateral forces imparted to a vehicle, which knock off your muffler or make your engine mounts shaky, and damage the vehicle. In 1991, Toyota got the railroads together and complained about some of these things. So we're spending $355 million to improve the ride quality of our railroad cars, so that your vehicle will come off that railroad car in the same shape it was put on in the first place. And we're doing it by improving the quality of the railroad car trucks themselves so that they do not hump down the track and therefore shake up your vehicle. It's costing us a lot of money. But we wanted to do our part in helping [the value chain] do the job right in the first place. And if you do those jobs right in the first place, and do it cost-effectively, then that's your best chance of succeeding in the long run.

Lawrence P. Doyle (ASC): In the auto industry, we're all chasing the entertainment systems. We worked with General Motors on the Oldsmobile Silhouette, and the approach that we took in order to do this very fast was to bring in all of our suppliers, and set up a U-shaped accessorizing line; the video-entertainment supplier actually assembles its system right in our facility. Picture what happens there: If you have a problem, it's immediately tested right there, and you don't have weeks of inventory. They get to see how it's installed, and they can make running changes at the same point in time. Talk about trust in partnerships--they get paid by every vehicle that leaves the facility, so we don't have paperwork or even e-work between us.

Larry D. Yost (Meritor Automotive): There's another concept that is relevant to design for manufacturing--core competence. Experts talking about it would probably give you two cases. One is if you have a product or process and you want to grow the business, and you look around for other areas that you can take that competence into. The other area is for a business to look at its products and its processes and decide which ones to focus on. As the demands on us all intensify, we can't be the best in everything, so we must select those areas where we're going to invest, and do something about the rest. So if we [each] focus on fewer of the steps and processes, then I think we have a better chance of succeeding. Where we are in this evolution? Not even halfway.

Sam Licavoli (Textron Automotive): To design a single component, you have to look at the interface between that component and the next component. Take an instrument panel, for example, which is one of our products. We can make the base instrument panel perfect--but we still have to put a radio and an air conditioner in it. And in the automotive in-dustry, we are still designing too many components in a vacuum, so that they come together only in the assembly process.

Now you're hearing about the movement from components to systems, and funny things start to occur. For example, I Find myself partnering with my fierce competitor on my right [Lear's Kenneth Way]. A few years ago we barely talked. Today I have people in his offices, and he has people in my offices, working together. And sometimes we do joint ventures.

So I think the industry is coming off designing a component well in terms manufacturability, and learning how to design a system well. But there is still something missing there in terms of design for manufacturability. We tend to only focus on the individual manufacturers of those components, and not the full value chain. So I don't think we've broken the code to really get the entire value chain together up front, working together to clean out the entire process. We've come a long way. But we've got a long way to go.

Eric Mittelstadt (FANUC Robotics): No question about that. The only way you can optimize and really be lean is to look at that entire supply chain, and include companies like ourselves that are providing the equipment used in manufacturing. We may be smart in applying robots, but we don't know a lot about product design. However, we might give you some ideas you have not thought of yourself. Similarly, when you talk to us about your designs coming forward, we can look at what we would really be able to do. We're doing some of that with material suppliers. They're using different kinds of materials, and proposing them for different parts of the automobile and for other products. That gives us a chance to develop a robot that can apply a new coating in a new way, for example, or that can do welding in different ways.

Donlon: It's important also to think of all this in the global context. Is there anything that we have learned in working outside the U.S. that has helped improve processes?

Licavoli: What I've found is that there are good ideas everyplace; there's no corner on the idea market. One thing that we stress very heavily is the best-methods approach, because we have found ourselves reinventing the wheel too many times. All too often, we spent an awful lot of time and energy perfecting a process, only to do it over again in another part of the world. The computer has helped us considerably in this regard, and that's why I am interested in e-commerce, because I think that it is going to open up a whole new explosion of opportunities for all of us.

Also, in our business, if we're not engineering on a 24-hour basis, we're losing speed. We've got to be able to pass work from Asia to Europe to the United States on a regular basis. I'd like to say we're perfect at that. We're not, but we're certainly working in that direction.

Way: [Working globally] has forced us to do several things. We are doing a lot more environmental work on our products, such as door panels that can be recycled. It's more important in Europe, but it's coming over here.

The other thing is that customers everywhere want the best engineering. But we cannot afford to have tech centers around the world, so we have used e-commerce. We have a virtual engineering system so that an engineer anywhere can pull up benchmark data, and see what is the world-class door system or headliner system. He can bring his customer in, and he can call the individual that's the expert in our company on that product, and they can interface with the customer, so that the customer can see that they have access to our engineering on a global basis.

John A. Maczuzak (National Steel): We supply flat-rolled steel to the automotive industry. Our engineers are working with the engineers in the automotive companies on parts that are going to be required two or three years out. As a result of that effort, probably more than 50 percent of the grades of steel that are used in an automobile today didn't exist 10 years ago. They were developed either for better surface characteristics, or paintability or better formability--or most recently and most importantly, for lighter weight and higher strength applications, as with the so-called bake-hardenable steels. So I think the effort between customer and supplier in this particular case has been a real success story.

Kenneth Graham (Thyssen): We're realizing that we have to pull rather than push through our plants. For example, we started working with Alcoa, with their engineers coming to us and ours going to them. We decided that we would pull through their plants, that we would not push through their plants. So today we are really running a plant out in Davenport, Iowa, for Alcoa through our ordering system.... So it's trust, it's a relationship that's evolving.

Another example would be the importance of trying to establish long-term contracts. With Boeing we have just entered into a 10-year contract, which I think is the key to having trust and relationships and partnerships. If you don't have some longevity in your relationship--at least five years, but 10 years is a better number--people can't get to know each other and work closely together. So every 737, every 747, every plane that Boeing makes, we are entrusted with distributing all the material that goes into these planes worldwide. All the aluminum, all the extrusions, all of the titanium. It's in our computer systems; Boeing knows it. They eliminated 50 suppliers, 50 systems that they had to deal with before. One system is driving all of this through.

Arnie Pollard (CE): If a company is supplying the Big Three or any large producer, does trust still have the same meaning? Trust implies equality. When is it a true partnership, and when is it really the strong buyer just leaning on his suppliers?

Brett N. Silvers (First International Bank): One of the real challenges in a global supply chain and an extended enterprise is that the partners generally are not equal. One of the areas that we have spent a lot of time on is trying to figure out creative financing techniques that would permit someone, while they are putting pressure on a vendor or begging a customer to do business with them, to be able to interject interesting and creative financing techniques that would address that imbalance that's inherent in an extended enterprise.

Way: The trust relationship varies from manufacturer to manufacturer in our business. But with all of them, we have a pretty extensive way of target costing, and setting up parameters at the beginning of the product cycle and then working together. An OEM that works with us using that method has much better product input, and a much better design, than the one that goes out for 15 quotes, sees a cloud of dust, and the lowest guy gets it. So the evolution of the industry is towards target costing--setting up the value for the product at the beginning, and then working together with the OEMs and co-designing to hit the objectives.

THE CEO: MAKING CONNECTIONS

Donlon: What does the CEO need to focus on to take the manufacturing organization to the next level? Where are you going to be putting your time and attention?

William T. McCormick (CMS Energy): Those companies that have exceptional supplier relationships tend to do very well, and those that have troubled supplier relationships don't do very well. That's not something that happens by accident. It really takes top-level CEO involvement. There are an awful lot of innovative things that suppliers can do for a company, and part of the job for all of us is to focus on those relationships and make them better.

David W. Hockenbrocht (Sparton): In a very real way, a CEO today is responsible for the leadership of the mind and the practice of the business. He's also responsible for making sure the resources, property, plant, equipment, and people are in place so that the business is valid five years from now, 10 years from now. And if he does those things properly, he'll have a great future ahead of him instead of behind him.

Dauch: I believe in this subject, and I believe this is a very noble profession. It has become global; it is no longer regional. It's a hard, tough, no-nonsense game, and I think the CEO's job is to create a teamwork environment in whichever company he or she has the privilege to lead--to provide a focus, define a charter, and try to make the job doable, enjoyable, and productive for every person that's on the payroll.

Williams: I'd just like to give some short bullets. The customer first and last. Flexibility. Systems thinking. E-commerce. Most of the success is in the process you're doing. And life is not fair, so be prepared. [Laughter]

Growcock: We have to communicate the reasons why we have to be faster to market than we have been in the past, and why we have to be better when we get to market than we've been in the past. When I look at it, outsourcing is an area where a number of our bargaining units have a problem. But we have to outsource in order to provide throughput in the high-volume times. And we've got to be able to communicate that and get people to buy in and understand that some of that outsourcing will probably come back if there is a down market.

Mittelstadt: To some degree the role of the CEO is to establish a culture in the company that gets at what you're trying to accomplish, whether it's lean manufacturing or creative thinking or something else. And it should be coupled with measuring and rewarding on the accomplishment of those things that you're trying to do. People do what they get measured on. The other aspect is trusting our own people--knowing that the vast majority of them, no matter what their level, really want to contribute something to a significant event or a significant effort, and to feel proud of having accomplished something when they do it.

Barnes: As CEOs, we need to make sure that we're helping define and really communicate a vision of the desired state, and make sure that internally, the whole organization realizes the need to change. And then we have to make sure that we have a culture that actually allows that change to happen.

Paxton: I have a concept which I call power of the mind. What I mean by that is, I share our strategic plan with everyone in the company, including the janitor. I talk to every employee every quarter. We give them the strategic plan; it's not the big strategic plan that the executives have, but it has critical success factors on the markets we're focused on and our R&D expenditures. We share that, because I want everybody in the corporation focused on the same objective.

Maurice M. Taylor, Jr. (Titan International): My job is basically to make sure we don't create ivory towers, so it's a matter of getting down to the hourly work force. And the big problem that I see is, where are the skilled trades going to come from? If you go through your plants, you're going to find that the biggest need you have is truly skilled plumbers, electricians, and so forth. We've got a bad problem in this country. There's probably no one at this table who wants their son or daughter to become a plumber or an electrician. But we're all not going to be doctors and lawyers. It's crazy what we've done in the educational system in this country. We have got to turn it around. There's nothing wrong if you want to be a carpenter or wish to be working in a plant. I actually have shop people pushing close to $100,000 a year. So I think it's people, and having respect for the guy that's the janitor. It's just as important that he does his job right, as it is that I do my job.

Robert K. Burgess (Pulte): We need to recognize that we've got a serious problem in this country with skilled trades, and I don't know that we're doing much about it. There's an awful lot of pressure on our kids coming out of high school today to go to college, when not all of them should be there. I know from talking to our supplier and contractor base that they're having a terrible time getting skilled trades. And I don't think it's going to get any better. That's something that we need to be working on.

Emma: It's absolutely critical that you create an organization where people feel comfortable communicating. When you're talking about partners, suppliers, or a manufacturing organization, the key to being successful in all those areas is listening, and getting quality people who know how to elicit the right kind of comments and feedback and ideas from people. In my opinion, that's always going to be the key to a successful company.

Also, as CEOs we've got to be very careful that we don't get arrogant--that we don't think that we have all the answers. Business is more complex than ever, and it's a major mistake to think that all of the answers lie in the top spot. Those of us who can maximize the capabilities of our people are going to be winners. Open up the box, open the organization, don't be afraid to hear from your people. You'll be amazed at the kind of ideas that will come up from the ranks; they're good ideas, and they'll save money, and they'll make the company more efficient.

Doyle: Someone pointed out earlier that people are the most important asset of any business, and quite frankly, I feel that my job is to engage the intellectual capital within our organization, and to open that up for creativity and innovation. It's just amazing when you get people together, and they talk about the same problem and share the same information--the solutions that surface are enormous. And you can take that in a trusting relationship right upstream in the automotive industry to have the ultimate customer or a group of customers together talking about a car, or bring a bunch of suppliers together with your people. So it's people, and it's how we all relate that's important.

Yost: You have to get all of your people engaged, and have alignment in the organization so everyone is going the same way. One of the things that we do, which is really tough and not looked upon with favor by everyone, is that we cull out those people that can't get with our organization, that don't feel comfortable with where we're going. We want them to leave, we want some turnover. They'll be happier people, and we'll be a better organization. And then we will recruit college graduates, senior people, people with skills that are appropriate for our organization--but more importantly, people who can get excited about going where our company is going.

Yeager: The success of our company has been because of our getting the best people, and recognizing them and training them, and making sure that they're growing and they're actually fulfilling their dreams. Probably the most important thing of all is that we listen to them, and we listen to their suggestions and what they can provide to us. We have to know what our customers' wants are, but more important than that, we have to know what they really need. We have to provide them with a differentiated product, and maybe even something that they had not thought of before.

Smith: I think that number one, you have to have your own house in order. We have to understand what the value chain is, and practice that internally, and bring world-class services to our customers, to our OEM customers and our ultimate customers. If we have all those things right within our own organization, we have to look upstream and downstream and find those partners and alliances who share those values and those cultures. If we don't do that, we won't succeed.

A Who's Who of Roundtable Participatns

Steve Barnes is CEO of Deerfield, MI-based Dade Behring, a $1 .3 billion clinical diagnostics company.

Fred Bauer is chairman and CEO of Zealand, MI-based Gentex Corp., a $222.3 million manufacturer of photoelectric smoke detection devices and automatic dimming car mirrors.

John D. Bowlin is president and CEO of Milwaukee, WI-based Miller Brewing Co., a $4.1 billion beer manufacturer and subsidiary of Philip Morris.

Robert K. Burgess is chairman and CEO of Bloomfield Hills, MI-based Pulte Corp., a $3.5 billion homebuilder and mortgage company

Raymond C. Burton, Jr. is president and CEO of TTX Co., a $937 million railroad equipment and services provider.

Richard E. Dauch is chairman, president, and CEO of Detroit, MI-based American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings, a $2.15 billion automotive industry supplier.

John Doddridge is chairman and CEO of Troy, MI-based Internet Corp., a producer of precision iron and aluminum castings for automotive and industrial customers, with sales approaching $1 billion.

Lawrence P. Doyle is president and CEO of Southgate, MI-based ASC, a $700 million specialty vehicle and products manufacturer.

Edward C. Emma is president of Kenosha, WI-based Jockey International, a $546 million underwear manufacturer.

Kenneth J. Graham is president and chief executive of Detroit, MI-based Thyssen North America, a division of German steel producer Thyssennkrupp.

Terry D. Growcock is president and CEO of The Manitowoc Co., a Manitowoc, WI-based, $695 million manufacturer of cranes, boom trucks, and ice-making and refrigeration products.

Leland L. Grubb, Jr. is president, automotive business unit, of Troy, MI-based Thomas Group, a consulting firm providing global solutions to a broad range of industries.

David W. Hockenbrocht is president of Jackson, MI-based Sparton Corp., an electronics design and manufacturing provider.

Sam Licavoli is president of Troy, MI-based Textron Automotive, a $2.7 billion supplier of automotive parts.

John A. Maczuzak is president and COO of Mishawaka, IN-based National Steel Corp., a $3 billion integrated steel producer.

William T. McCormick, Jr. is chairman and CEO of Dearborn, MI-based CMS Energy, a $6 billion international energy company.

Eric Mittelstadt is chairman emeritus of Rochester Hills, MI-based FANUC Robotics North America, a subsidiary of Japan's FANUC, which designs, engineers, and manufactures robots and robotic systems.

A. Malachi Mixon III is chairman and CEO of Elyria, OH-based Invacare Corp., an $800 million worldwide manufacturer and distributor of medical products for the non-acute health care market.

Silas Nichols is president of New Berlin, WI-based ABB Flexible Automation's Manufacturing Industry and Robotics Group, a provider of robotbased automation solutions and member of the international ABB group.

Jim Pattisan is CEO of The Jim Pattison Group, a Vancouver, Canadabased, $4.4 billion firm involved in various industries, including food service, manufacturing, transportation, and leasing.

John W. Paxton is chairman and CEO of Akron, OH-based Telxon Corp., a $388 million designer of software and peripherals for mobile computing and wireless data communications.

Roger Phillips is president and CEO of Saskatchewan, Canada-based IPSCO, a $710 million maker of steel mill products and fabricated products.

Brett N. Silvers is chairman and CEO of Hartford, CT-based First International Bank, which specializes in providing credit, trade, and financial solutions to small and medium-size manufacturing companies.

Larry D. Smith is CEO of Prescott, WI-based Phillips Plastics Corp., a $250 million custom injection molder of plastic and metal.

Maurice M. (Morry) Taylor, Jr. is president and CEO of Cuincy, IL-based Titan International, a $661 million manufacturer of agricultural, construction, and specialty wheel and tire assemblies.

Kenneth L. Way is chairman and CEO of Southfield, MI-based Lear Corp., a $12 billion supplier of automotive interiors.

Frank E. Weise III is president and CEO of Toronto, Canada-based Cott Corp., a $1 billion soft drink bottler and supplier of retailer brand soft drinks.

J. Thomas Williams is president and CEO of Irving, TX-based Thomas Group, a consulting firm providing global solutions to a broad range of industries.

Phillip C. Yeager is chairman of Lombard, IL-based Hub Group, a $1.15 billion intermodal marketing company and full-service transportation provider.

Larry D. Yost is chairman and CEO of Troy, MI-based Meritor Automotive, a $3.8 billion supplier of a wide range of automotive components.
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Publication:Chief Executive (U.S.)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 1999
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