For a Kinder, Gentler Society
What is Good for General Motors?
Solving America's Industrial Conundrum
  • Thomas A. Crumm
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What is Good for General Motors? . Solving America's Industrial Conundrum
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An insider exposes the strategic decisions that have caused the foundation of America’s industrial sector to crumble, then lays out a plan for its restoration. The author led GM Chairman John Smale’s Scenario Planning Staff in the mid-1990s and Roger Smith’s development of a Saturn expansion proposal in the late-1980s after a career in GM plant operations designing and managing manufacturing systems.

About the Author

Thomas A. Crumm is a third-generation autoworker born and raised in Flint, Michigan. His grandfathers and father began their careers with tools in their hands and rose to play important roles in the auto industry. Tom’s career began in the same way. His successes in improving operations and designing manufacturing systems would take him to every corner of GM’s diverse operations. His many successes in the leadership of manufacturing and engineering activities moved him steadily up through the ranks and into roles of increasing responsibility.

Tom’s corporate leadership education came during his six years in Roger Smith’s Corporate Strategic Planning Group (think tank), when he was afforded the opportunity to attend executive programs at Harvard, The Wharton School and then Northwestern. But if asked, he will tell you he is a hands-on industrial engineer.

Tom Crumm was appointed to lead GM Chairman John Smale’s Scenario Planning Staff in the mid-nineties in an attempt to alter the course of General Motors. Tom was also the appointed “visionary” for Roger Smith when he attempted to expand the Saturn experiment across the corporation.

After GM, Tom became a consultant to Adaptive Materials Inc., which develops and produces solid oxide fuel cells for defense applications. He is a former member of the BOD and CEO of Hypercar Inc. joining them as they spun off from the Rocky Mountain Institute to design and build a prototype of a full sized family sedan powered by a hydrogen fuel cell that could achieve the BTU equivalent of 100 mpg. The prototype weighed less than 1800 pounds when development was complete. Its steering, brakes, suspension and all other controls were achieved using lightweight electronics. The structural body panels were made of carbon fiber.

The lessons learned from these two attempts together with Tom’s experience in raising funding and pulling together a proposal for how to put Hypercars into production, and his recent attempt to launch a consortium of companies to build vehicles for federal fleets, all serve to support the conclusions and recommendations in the book.

About the Book

Tom Crumm thinks the American auto industry can regain the world leadership it once enjoyed in design, manufacturing and sales of world-class quality vehicles — and profitability. There are nearly a million American jobs at stake and when the...

Tom Crumm thinks the American auto industry can regain the world leadership it once enjoyed in design, manufacturing and sales of world-class quality vehicles — and profitability. There are nearly a million American jobs at stake and when the ideas in this book spread to component and other industries it becomes fuel for discussion of a turnaround of America’s industrial sector and a turnaround of the economy.

General Motor’s CEO Roger Smith was a visionary and fully realized that change was needed at GM. Tom Crumm played a vital role in the rethinking that was to help the company steer a new course; as a strategic planner he was deeply involved in the creation of the Saturn project in 1985. 

Many lessons may be learned from Saturn’s rise and fall that could be used to further the understanding of how the American manufacturing sector can be restored to its world class position. These include: 

-    corporate culture and leadership, or the lack of it
-    the integration of technology and workers
-    employee empowerment and labor relations
-    supplier relations and vertical integration
-    and sales philosophy and customer satisfaction

The biggest threat to a worker’s job is an unprofitable company. Accordingly, the adversarial relationship with the company was not in the best long term interest of union members. The union had to change as well as the company. This point and the whole discussion will be of compelling interest to all who want to know what happened to America’s auto making capability. 

Others have recently tried to explain what went wrong in the auto industry. 'Crash Course' by Paul Ingrassia, for instance, shows that the author had extraordinary access to behind-the-scenes meetings and conversations -- but he has little to say about engineering, manufacturing, or product development. This book addresses just those practical areas where productive change can be made.


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The Findlay Courier - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 | More »

Pages 288
Year: 2010
BISAC: BUS082000 BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industrial Management
BISAC: BUS088000 BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Time Management
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-777-9
Price: USD 23.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-778-6
Price: USD 33.95
eBook
ISBN: 978-0-87586-779-3
Price: USD 23.95
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