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  • Enabling Manufacturing Flexibility Issue Resolution in Advanced Vehicle Development

    By

    Grace C. Tomlin

    Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, the University of Michigan (2001)

    Submitted to the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Mechanical Engineering Department in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degrees of

    Master of Business Administration

    AND

    Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

    In conjunction with the Leaders for Manufacturing Program at the

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology June 2008

    C 2008 Massacjusetts Institute of Technology, All rights reserved ..4 A

    A1

    Signature of Author

    S1 /

    Certified by

    Certified by

    MASSACHUSETI-S INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

    JUN 2 5 2008

    LIBRARIES

    Department of Mechanical Engineering & MIT Sloan School of Management

    May 9 ,2008

    Sh/ Warren Seering, Thesis Supervisor Weber Sh gbiess Professor echanical Engineering and Engineering Systems

    Co-Director, Leaders for Manufacturing

    Eric Rebentisch, Thesis Supervisor Research AssociateCenter for Technolgg;, Policy, & Industrial Development

    Certified by - ce

    Accepted by

    Accepted by

    Donald Rosenfield, Thesis Reader (Management) Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management

    Director, Leaders For Manufacturing Fellows Program

    Lallit Anand, Graduate Committee Chairman Department of Mechanical Engineering

    Debbie Berechman Executive lirector of MBA Program, MIT Sloan School of Management

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  • Enabling Manufacturing Flexibility Issue Resolution in Advanced Vehicle Development

    By

    Grace C. Tomlin

    Submitted to the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Mechanical Engineering Department on May 9t , 2008 in Partial Fulfillment of the

    Requirements for the Degrees of Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

    1. Abstract

    Manufacturing Flexibility is a broad term used to describe a metric that can be measured in many different ways. Current industry experts agree that Flexibility is one of the key measures that will help the automotive industry reduce current overcapacity and remain competitive. In addition to flexibility, General Motors is also focusing on fewer, interbuildable product architectures.

    To maintain and implement flexible manufacturing systems, General Motors has developed a list of Flexibility Enablers. These enablers identify critical product characteristics which affect the interbuildability of the product and the flexibility and of the subsequent manufacturing process.

    Market forces drive product requirements, and lead to designs that potentially violate the Flexibility Enablers. This thesis will look at GM's internal structure and how it has developed to support design decisions and issue resolution. It will then study cases in which the design requirements led to design, manufacturing and cost tradeoffs in an attempt to understand and document the different unwritten resolution processes in disparate groups.

    Keywords: Manufacturing Flexibility, Product Development, Flexibility Enabler, Interbuildability

    Thesis Supervisor: Warren Seering Title: Weber Shaughness Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Systems;

    Co-Director, Leaders for Manufacturing

    Thesis Supervisor: Eric Rebentisch Title: Research Associate, Center for Technology, Policy, & Industrial Development

    Thesis Reader: Donald Rosenfield Title: Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management;

    Director, Leaders For Manufacturing Fellows Program

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  • Acknowledgments

    I would like to thank General Motors for sponsoring my internship in the area of Manufacturing Flexibility, a very interesting course of study. I'd also like to thank GM for its continued support of the Leaders for Manufacturing program.

    I'd like to thank Jay Ewing, my supervisor at GM, who helped guide and scope the direction of my studies. Who also acted as a mentor for me outside of the scope of the research. I'd like to thank Bob Scott, who championed the internship. And, I'd like to recognize my coworkers, who helped me access GM databases, gather information, and were very open and straightforward in the interviews I conducted with them.

    I'd like to thank Mike Peterson, who helped get me settled back into Michigan, and connected with people throughout the GM organization. I was always able to rely on Mike to have an answer, or at least find someone who did. Also, thanks go to Qi Hommes and Pat Spicer, who met with me on a regular basis to guide and give me moral support during the internship itself.

    I'd like to thank my thesis advisors, Eric Rebentisch and Warren Seering, whose Product Development expertise, interest in my topic, and probing questions helped me structure my case studies and compile my conclusions.

    Thank you to my LFM class. I have learned so much about team work and healthy competition from all of my wonderful classmates. It was wonderful to have such a support system as I have grown and changed over these past 2 years.

    And of course, I'd like to thank my wonderful fianc6, Marshall Overlander, who has helped keep me on track, and made me believe that I can accomplish things I never thought possible! My life would not be the same without you, and I'm looking forward to spending the rest of it by your side.

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  • Biographical Note

    Grace Tomlin was born in 1978 and grew up in Plymouth, Michigan. She graduated from the University of Michigan in August of 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. During this time, she worked for UofM's Engineering Research Center for Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems and was a member of the Marian Sarah Parker Scholars.

    After graduation, she joined Eaton Corporation's Leadership Development Program, and worked functions such as Marketing, Sales, Finance and Lean implementation on the shop floor. She then joined Goodrich Corporation in 2004 as a Program Manager supporting the EDM phase manufacturing of canard control units for Lockheed Martin's Advanced Gun System program. Grace also worked for The Timken Company as a Sales Engineer before returning to graduate school. After graduation from MIT, Grace will return to General Motors' Manufacturing group.

    Grace enjoys both arts and sports. She plans to continue singing and performing when she returns to Michigan, as well as compete in her first half Ironman.

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  • Table of Contents

    1. Abstract ............................................................................................................................................... 3

    Acknowledgm ents ............................................................................................................................... 5

    Biographical Note ........................................................................................................................................ 7

    Table of Contents ............................................................................................................................... 9

    Table of Figures ......................................................................................................................................... 11

    2. Flexibility Background and Definition ............................................................................... 13 2.1. Flexibility and Interbuildability: Definition ..................................... .. ........... 13 2.2. Flexibility M etrics in Industry...................................... ............................................ 13 2.3. Interbuildability in Industry ............................................................. ........................ 15 2.4. Flexibility and Interbuildability at General M otors ...................................... .... . 16 2.5. Sum m ary ........................................................................................................................ 18

    3. Global Strategy: Role of Flexibility in the Global Enterprise ................................................... 19 3.1. Globalization, and Strategically Managing a Global Business ................................... 19

    4. Three-lens Framework: Business organization and responsibilities ........................................... 23 4.1. Strategic Design Lens............................................. .................................................. 23

    4.1.1. GM 's organizational structure ..................................... ...................... 23 4.1.2. Architecture Development and Local Specialization ..................................... . 25 4.1.3. Linking .................................................................................................................... 25 4.1.4. GM Global Com m on G oals ............................................................................. 26 4.1.5. Conclusion .............................................................................................................. 29

    4.2. Political Lens.................................................................................................................. 29 4.3. Cul