Lots of plastics processors and mold makers say they want to get involved early in their customers' projects. A recent decision by General Motors Corp. once again illustrates the risk of that strategy.
GM in May quietly told suppliers it indefinitely had canceled plans to produce the next-generation Chevrolet Cavalier and Pontiac Sunfire. According to suppliers, the redesigned compact cars tested poorly in a series of consumer clinics. The decision could cost supplier companies millions of dollars in upfront design and tooling work, plus millions more in lost production contracts.
What's the lesson? Perhaps it's not as simple as it appears. GM keeps a pretty tight rein on design work, and you could argue that if suppliers had played a larger role in this effort, the result might have been more attractive.
Still, suppliers will push for compensation for their work, and GM will urge them to help share the burden. And the next time either side mentions the word ``teamwork,'' they'll both feel a cold shiver.