Focusing on Technologies that Promotes Company Priorities

Focusing on Technologies that Promotes Company Priorities

By James Bovenzi, GM Executive Director; North America Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, General Motors

James Bovenzi, GM Executive Director; North America Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, General Motors

1. In the light of your experience as a senior leader in supply chain arena what are the technological trends and challenges you’ve witnessed happening in the space?

There are a number of technological trends impacting supply chain, including advanced analytics, block chain, IoT, 3D printing and autonomous vehicles to name a few. The critical element is to ensure that business priorities drive the technology, not the inverse. In our world, we place the customer in the center of everything that we do. We are focused on safety, defect free vehicles, waste elimination and total enterprise solutions. We pursue technologies that further these priorities or speed our ability to delight our customers.

2. Could you talk about your approach to identify the right partnership/ solutions provider from the lot?

The partners we secure are aligned with General Motors cultural and business priorities and offer a superior technical solution which allows us to perform as one team. For example, from a risk management perspective, we are working on key projects that we are implementing to develop visibility of our tier 1 through tier N supply base. Working with key technology partners who are aligned with our priorities, we are able to quickly assess the impacts of national disasters to our supply chain. As a result of these technologies and a great team, we were able to avert any production impact from the recent hurricanes, despite the direct impact to several suppliers in those regions. We are now working on predictive models that identify potential supply chain risks proactivity and will help minimize disruptions.

3. Could you elaborate on some interesting and impactful project/initiatives that you’re currently overseeing?

Today’s operating environment requires organizations to constantly assess strengths and opportunities, and implement improvements. Within our global logistics team, we have embarked on a project to significantly enhance our in-house capabilities. It combines people, processes and tools to model and optimize our entire global logistics network to eliminate waste and drive responsiveness. We are also working very closely with our manufacturing partners to implement additional lean manufacturing strategies, optimizing our storage areas and line side part presentation.

4. What are some of the generic points of discussion in your leadership panel? What are the strategic points that you go by to steer the company forward.

Our Chairman and CEO, Mary Barra, has established the key strategies and priorities for General Motors. Global Purchasing and Supply Chain has adopted key priorities in support of those strategies. We have definitive multi-year metrics and targets. We start with the customer in the center of everything that we do and focus on nurturing relationships, safety, defect free vehicles, accelerating innovation, total enterprise cost and waste free value streams.

5. How would you see the evolution a few years from now with regard to disruptions and transformations within the arena?

Mary Barra, our Chairman and CEO has stated that the automobile industry will change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50. We want to lead the transformation of the industry. We are focused on operational excellence to optimize our current business model and produce the best portfolio of vehicles in our General Motors history. Excellent execution of our traditional business affords us the ability to develop the future business model including ride sharing, connected vehicles, electrification and automation. Our supply chain and logistics capabilities need to adapt to support the dramatic changes ahead.

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