My Perspective on GM

*What is written below is purely my point of view, or better yet, my fictional account. I don’t feel like getting sued. GM stands for GoodWingum Motards.

I actually worked on a couple of projects for GM. One is big and secret and I really cannot discuss it. Partly because I was part of developing the process and how it related to other manufacturers later on. The project that I can talk about is one that had to do with looking at one of their many databases and finding out what the reliability of the data was.

I am also a GM customer and have been for my last 3 vehicles which have all been Monte Carlos. I love the car for many reasons, and my only complain is that the position of the sit belt is not adjustable like it is in other cars and it can be annoying at times.

While working with GM I learned a lot. I have worked with statistical analysis of databases quite a bit before. I enjoy finding patterns on numbers and how they relate either back to the business or to people. Projecting trends is something that clicks quite easy in my head once a understand a process.

The project I did for GM was quite straight forward and very successful. We presented our findings and they were very happy. However, the reason behind the project is what kind of baffled me.

I have seen companies make bad decisions throughout my career. Most of the time this happens when the person making the decision is too far removed from what is actually happening or what is being implemented. In my opinion this was the case here. The system that was being installed was moving forward, and what the project that I did prove had nothing to do with the final outcome of the project that was being pushed elsewhere.

Looking at GM’s Renaissance Center on the news is what brought many of the memories. I had to go there for meetings sometimes. I actually remember my first meeting there like it was yesterday, and a picture of the building being my very first mobile picture in the now defunct TextAmerica website.

What amazed me the most about the GM project was how inefficient a company that had so much invested in a company was. Their security was pretty tight, but it made getting data from the a nightmare that would take days just for a single file. What made it even more frustrating was that it was not obtained from GM directly but from another vendor. So it was vendor talking to vendor and then getting approval from someone in GM to make the transaction happen. If the data was wrong… well many layers of bureaucracy had to be wrestled with until the data was finally obtained.

I learned a lot from this project about GM. Even more than the other secret project that we most not speak of now… on that one I got to learn a lot more about how state governments work. That I just refuse to post about completely.

Seeing a company from the inside is interesting, and now that they are filling for bankruptcy it does not surprise me one bit. Even though it was only a portion of what they do and actually not directly related to manufacturing, seeing how inefficient they were was a big red flag for me. It is easy to say now that you would not want a job there, but I knew that even back then.

I still love my GM car, and would probably buy a GM in the future as they restructure because the product to me is pretty good. Working and living in Michigan taught me many things about the automotive industry and its failure to react to change. I guess like anything that gets to big, it also becomes slow. I am eager to see what happens with the company, and hopefully it will eventually become independent and publicly owned. I do know that if they want to survive and flourish tons of changes will have to be made. Maybe in their next iteration, they will actually stop creating more bureaucracy and become more agile in every aspect.

5 comments on “My Perspective on GM

  1. Yes. GM probably should have gone bankrupt last year. Instead our govt (Republicans and Democrats) has chosen to pour tons of taxpayer money into a failing business because of a fear that the business is too big to fail.

    I suspect that our unwillingness to allow poor management to be punished by failure will come back to haunt us in the future.

  2. I don’t know EmawKC… while I am all for letting companies fail if they don’t do the right things… what would have happened if AIG failed?

    I think Bush did the right thing by getting the car companies through the holiday season, but right now it is time to restructure and come out on top. I still think GM can become a world leader after this… I mean look at Disney, the dude also filled for bankruptcy, had his original mouse taken away and he created what is now one of the biggest companies in the world.

    Car companies in general have issues, and the other big American company which I actually did not get to do any projects for (but was in the process to get ready to do so) was a lot more strict on how they did their business and seemed to have cleaned up the act during the 90s quite a bit. I am glad they refused the money and hopefully they will come out on top as well.

  3. I’m constantly amazed at the inefficiency of large, successful companies and assume that if one is going bankrupt, they’ve probably done something to get themselves there. A friend of mine used to work for United Airlines and I was just flabberghasted by some of their decisions.

  4. –> Becky,

    I hear you there. I grew up in a town where almost everyone aspired to work for the local chemical company(including myself). I eventually was hired on there and figured it had to be better than all the other crappy jobs I had ever had. They are a fortune 500 company for goodness sakes, they must know something that other companies don’t know, right?! I was quickly disgusted by the base political decisions and poor management that happened. I was pretty naive to think that just because they were successful that it was because they were better/smarter than everyone else! Now that I’ve been in the working world for 10 more years since working there, I realize that no company is exempt from that kind of decision making.

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