The Plastics Blog
By Don Loepp | About The Plastics Blog

GM's new CEO, on product development (and plastics)

| December 10, 2013 02:27 pm ET
Keywords: Automotive

General Motors Co.'s incoming CEO Mary Barra made history and headlines on Dec. 10 when the Detroit-based automaker named her to succeed Dan Akerson in January.

While there will be plenty of ink — digital and in newsprint — out there over the next few days on her appointment, we thought we'd mention something from Barra's past that reflects on her thinking regarding plastics.

Barra has plenty of experience in the auto industry, working her way up through the system starting with an engineering degree at what is now Kettering University. Her current post has her overseeing global product development and the global supply chain — a combination that industry watchers IHS termed as an important move for GM.

"In product development terms, keeping purchasing and product development under a single manager can help ensure purchasing decisions are biased as best for the product," it said.

In one case, noted by PN's sister newspaper Automotive News, Barra found a way to reduce costs without affecting customer satisfaction by redesigning knee bolster air bags that could be used in multiple models without having to design different instrument panels for each model.

"Why can't it be common for the globe?" Barra said of conversations she's had with engineers. "Some components and subsystems depend on the size of the vehicle, the performance you're looking for. But if you start with questioning, 'Why can't I have one solution?' then you get engineering thinking completely differently."

For more coverage of Barra's appointment, see AutoNews.com.


Recent Blog Posts

Obama talks about composites and 3-D printing at Techmer PM   January 10, 2015 10:01 pm ET
Your most popular stories of 2014   December 29, 2014 8:57 am ET
Law denies benefits to former Nazis, including former plastics executive   December 18, 2014 5:53 pm ET
Study estimates 269,000 tons of plastic in world's oceans   December 10, 2014 7:25 pm ET
Plastics and politics ... it's serious business   December 4, 2014 5:20 pm ET

Comments

GM's new CEO, on product development (and plastics)

Published: December 10, 2013 2:27 pm ET
Updated: December 10, 2013 2:33 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story

Market Reports

Plastics in Automotive: Innovation & Emerging Trends

This special report newly released by PN and sponsored by The Conair Group examines current trends in the use of plastics in automotive, materials innovations and the changing landscape. It includes a review of legislative/regulatory activity impacting vehicle development and lightweighting, market opportunities & challenges for mold and toolmakers, innovative design strategies being implemented by major OEMs and suppliers, as well as a review of key indicators in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events