Wednesday, June 3, 2009

GM, Smart Cars and Smart

Attended a session today discussing software development in a smarter planet. The presenter was discussing all of the software that now ships in cars – essentially how we now have smart cars – and speculated that perhaps this was a reason GM was in its current situation. That is, they’ve struggled in production of cars that are smart - and that’s the factor behind the bankruptcy.

I have trouble with this line of reasoning – and while I’d agree that its an issue in terms of being smart – its not just the cars themselves. Instead I see it as being an issue of smarter business processes (and manufacturing, distribution, etc) – that is being a dynamic business. As we look back over the past couple of years (18 months?) the amazing volatility and changes in terms of gas prices, consumer preferences (SUVs, gas efficient models, back to SUVs?) and overall economy/finances – these all place incredible pressures on the business.

As an automobile manufacturer:Which models should be sold? How many to produce? How to deliver the innovations that customers demand? Scale up? Scale down? How could elasticity be inserted into the production process? And how do you act on these decisions in real time and with agility?


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