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General Motors is actively taking steps to improve supplier relationships and developing ways to engage strategic suppliers earlier in the vehicle development process, Mark Reuss, GM vice president of global vehicle engineering, told automotives supplier executives November 9 at the Original Equipment Suppliers Association's 2009 Outlook Conference.
"We understand we must significantly improve supplier working relationships and we need to move the needle fast,” Reuss said. "We want to be the manufacturer of choice and we will work to earn the trust of our supply base."
GM recently has taken several steps to improve supplier relationships, including revising its supplier cost reduction suggestion program to let suppliers keep a larger share of savings generated from cost reduction ideas that are implemented. In addition, GM recently announced that later this year, it will begin paying direct material suppliers weekly instead of monthly. This move will allow suppliers to better manage their cash flow and reduce the need to borrow money to run their businesses.
In another first, Reuss and Dan Hancock, GM's vice president of powertrain engineering, have joined the GM Supplier Council to directly engage with suppliers on a variety of important issues.