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 TRAVERSE CITY, Mich., Aug. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- General Motors (NYSE: GM) is changing itself into a lean organization with "a vision for the future of total customer satisfaction" as the central purpose for its people, E. Michael Mutchler, GM vice president and group executive for North American passenger car platforms, said here today.
 Speaking to the University of Michigan's Automotive Management Briefing, he said becoming a lean producer, with high quality at low cost, is a primary objective of General Motors' management team.
 "Total customer satisfaction -- that's our vision," he declared. "Just as our internal focus is supporting the plant floor operator, who adds value, our external focus is absolutely on the customer who buys our product."
 "I have to admit total customer satisfaction is not an astonishingly new idea," Mutchler declared. "What's astonishing is when the belief becomes a day-in, day-out practice throughout the organization, ...when it becomes the central purpose for your people, and totally integrated into all of your systems."
 Noting how change is occurring in the auto industry, Mutchler said "we're beginning to take a different view of change. Dramatic change is not strictly an external event. Innovative change is coming from the interaction between the systems and the people within those systems."
 "People are beginning to realize that the domestic auto industry -- and yes, even General Motors -- has had the guts and brains to not only adapt to change, and current business situations, but also to create new ideas and to anticipate the changing dynamics of an international industry," he declared.
 Emphasizing that lean manufacturing is "more than just a plant initiative," Mutchler defined it as production with minimum consumption of capital investment, floor space, labor, material, time, and distance. He cited three major components that must be in place, with examples of GM's efforts for each:
 PRODUCT: "Design for manufacturing" is GM's main tool to simplify assembly and fabrication processes, he said. Reducing complexity streamlines the administrative side, lowers piece costs and investment, helps quality, and streamlines the administrative side, "...meaning lower prices for our customers, without compromising performance, function, serviceability, or styling."
 PROCESS: NAO's business objectives are brought together as part of the total system through the Quality Network process. The Quality Network and synchronous concepts, already existing in GM, became a fundamental NAO strategy "on the very first day that we met as a NAO Strategy Board," he said. Company-wide initiatives are aimed at building a supportive environment, creating a customer focus, synchronizing the organization, and detecting, solving, and preventing problems.
 PEOPLE: Policies to involve GM people are critical enablers, he said. "Each department and person has a specific role to play in implementation. But all of them are focusing on support for the operator, the person who adds value at the operating level."
 -0- 8/4/93
 /CONTACT: Kari Hulsey of General Motors, 313-986-6126/

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

ML -- DE005 -- 9221 08/04/93 09:04 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 4, 1993

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