Chrysler Group Senior Vice President of Purchasing and Supplier Quality Dan Knott provided an honest, blunt look at the public view of the company and where it's headed with its suppliers during his brief talk during the Money Matters session of the 2011 CAR Group Management Briefing Seminars.
His talk focused on "Navigating the Path to Prosperity" and was one of five purchasing, quality and auto industry representatives. We have about eight minutes of Knott's CAR MBS 2011 talk below.
Knott said the Chrysler of old had an "arrogant and entitlement type of mentality." However, the company of five years ago is not the same one formed with the FIAT alliance. "We've made great growth to change it," he added.
He focused on how Chrysler is working and involving suppliers in a humanistic way, not "business to business or company to company." He spoke of making sure that, if a supplier develops a new technology or component for Chrysler, that supplier owns it. Chrysler does not. If both develop it, we share ownership.
Part of that closer relationship will be rolled out starting in the fourth quarter when the company selects five suppliers for a pilot program focused on its World Class Manufacturing process. Within three years, Knott said about several hundred suppliers will be involved -- a similar process that our parent company FIAT went through with its WCM program.
The key message in this talk about the new, more personable way Chrysler is working with its suppliers revolves around "improving the process to make us an easier customer to work with," Knott said.
Supplier contracts won't be one solely on the lowest bid. They will be earned on meritocracy, and he relayed examples later during an open Q&A session with the speakers.
Knott was careful not to say that Chrysler has "arrived" despite what many are calling Chrysler's "miracle" turnaround: "We are six quarters of a 20-quarter plan under our belts. The good news is we're staying on our profitability targets....but we still have a long way to go."