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Captain Hybrid

Are Automakers' Managers Hurting Engineering?

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OLD_CURMUDGEON
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Re: Failed free market
OLD_CURMUDGEON   4/2/2012 8:03:09 AM
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Rob:  Supposedly the "reason" why gasoline is so highly priced currently is because they're in the midst of the winter to summer changeover mode @ the refineries, AND because there are plans in place to PERMANENTLY close at least one (or more) domestic refineries, including one on the East Coast (NJ or PA?) facility.

However, we've also heard the news reports, etal. in which it has been shown that the industry is EXPORTING domestically-produced gasoline to foreign depots.

Is this a contrivance?  Is it a conspiracy?  Is it collusion?  Who knows!  But, we're all paying the price, NO pun intended!

 

William K.
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Are the managers hurting engineering?
William K.   4/1/2012 5:03:31 PM
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Miller has it right about stockholders and the almighty quarterly profits drive. Monthly and quarterly short term profits are the main driver of about all upper management decisions made.IT is the greed thing, the same greed thast bought us the mortgage company bust and the toxic assets problems. Probably grred will destroy this great nation, unless it destroys one of the EU nations and we learn by watching. The problem is that greed and moral corruption are opposite sides of the same coin, and so it is not a large step from greedy decisions that may be legal to greedy decisions that are not legal. It sure sounds gloomy, doesn't it.

Tim
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Re: Japanese system
Tim   3/31/2012 2:50:53 PM
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It is agreed that not all Asian cultures have the same philosophy.  Companies 5000 miles away are hard to hold accountable for quality issues and sometimes the companies have actually folded before the container arrives at its final destination.

jmiller
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Re: 42 mpg not as good as >45 mpg
jmiller   3/31/2012 12:00:00 PM
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In the end it will be decided by the almighty dollar.  Even as gas prices rise people will still by larger vehicles because that is what they choose to spend their money on.  Even as gas prices rose last year, there was no great call to change what people were buying.  And I don't see people changing what they drive because the industry tells them too.  Dollars and cents will drive where we go.  No pun intended...okay yes I did intend to put that pun there.

jmiller
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Re: Are managers hurting engineering?
jmiller   3/31/2012 11:55:41 AM
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One of the big weaknesses of having a company managed by accounting types is it comes down completely to measureable by dollars and cents.  How can one eqquate the value of customer perception of a brand name?  It cannot be quantified.  But it is in my opinion more valuable than dollars and cents.

The other part about this is management must reward those that find and address issues rather than punish them by having them fix their mistakes while working on the other stuff they should be doing.  From the top down bringing issues to the table have to be viewed as a call for help not a reason to punish

jmiller
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Re: Japanese system
jmiller   3/31/2012 11:15:49 AM
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I agree that it is not just in the car industry.  You can add electronics and now eve n appliances to that list of produccts that are manufactured that way.  At least sort of.  You do have to be aware that there are different Asian countries and I don't think they all have that same level of quality engineering.  Especially, when it comes to the component level.  Some of my largest headaches have come from Asian component suppliers.

Tim
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Platinum
Japanese system
Tim   3/30/2012 9:47:35 PM
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It is hard to beat the Japanese system methodology. This philosophy carries over to most items made in Japan not just cars. It allows for some additional tolerance with individual parts as long as the system works.

William K.
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Platinum
Are managers hurting engineering?
William K.   3/30/2012 8:20:30 PM
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The assertion about designing for a three year product life is fairly accurate, at least it was for Chrysler while I was there. For starters, the top managers did seem to be accounting types, not engineers. But one indicator oof the problem was the reality that while the managers drove assigned cars so that, at least in theory, they could see any problems, all of those cars were inspected and serviced by mechanics EVERY DAY! The explanation that I got from our department manager was that nobody ever wanted thier part to be noticed as a problem by the upper management. I don't know what would have happened if there had been a problem noticed, but it would probably make somebodies career shorter or less rewarding. Now with that kind of culture and mindset, the policy makers never ever saw any reason to push for any changes. 

Charles Murray
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Re: Its not just the Auto Execs killing Engineering
Charles Murray   3/30/2012 7:26:38 PM
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I agree with you, JimT. It seems that American companies are too often at the mercy of stockholders, causing CEOs to get fired frequently and causing executives to seek short term profits over long-term goals. 

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: ADDING my 2 cents...
Charles Murray   3/30/2012 7:23:55 PM
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For what it's worth, Old Curmudgeon, Mercedes Benz and BMW both do poorly in Consumer Reports' reliability ratings, year after year.

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