DETROIT (Jan. 13, 10:05 a.m. ET) — Chrysler Group will overhaul the way it communicates with its suppliers beginning in the second quarter to ensure that the automaker delivers a consistent message, the company's purchasing boss said.
Dan Knott, 51, Chrysler's senior vice president of purchasing and supplier quality, said that the automaker's new initiative, dubbed “One Voice,” will ensure that suppliers receive one set of expectations from Chrysler, instead of several, perhaps contradictory ones.
Knott spoke during the Automotive News World Congress as part of a purchasing panel.
In years past, Knott said, “We had engineering saying one thing, and purchasing saying another.” Under the One Voice program, leaders from engineering, purchasing, and supplier quality will meet together with suppliers to lay out expectations and deliverables.
The teams, which will be different for each commodity, will have the job of getting all of Chrysler's factions “on the same page” in terms of what they will expect from the supplier, he said.
“By creating that formal board of directors, even if they have a one-on-one dialogue, they're singing from the same song sheet because we're forcing them to have alignment,” Knott said.
Chrysler will continue the rollout of One Voice through the end of the year, he said.
Chrysler's relationship with its supply base has continued to improve since the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2009, Knott said. But there are still challenges, including suppliers not trusting the production numbers the automaker laid out in 2009.
“Trust us for that future. We'll deliver 2.4 million vehicles” in 2012, he said, “So I need the supply base to deliver that.”
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