Make to Order Gravatai Essays

Words: 4728
Pages: 19

Make-to-Order Automobiles at GM’s Gravataí Plant1
In December 2007, 7 years after the launching of the Chevrolet Celta, Roberto Tinoco, the plant director, proudly recalls the inauguration of the Gravataí plant in mid-July 2000, an event that caught the eye of professionals and the academia both in Brazil and abroad. The core notion was: To sell cars made to order for final consumers. The project, known internally by the handle “blue macaw,” is considered to be a true landmark for the world’s automotive industry.
The Gravataí plant brought about a true revolution in how cars are made, from its concept to the direct-sale model, through its production management system. The lessons learned during the experiment are
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Despite the fact that the Brazilian operation answers for less than
5 percent of GM’s global business, it has gained strategic importance and become an innovation center, opening very flexible plants and rapidly releasing new products.
The Gravataí Automotive Industrial Complex (GMBG) project came to be as a result of an idea by General Motors Brazil (GMB) top management to build a plant where the assembly line and the Internet-based sales system were connected and were led by a single conductor: the customer. The entire plant was to operate synchronously like clockwork. Recently, the capacities have increased by 30 percent and the number of employees by 40 percent.
GMB began setting up its team of suppliers in 1995, when 17 of them were selected to work alongside the company in connection with the development of the product and process of the future GMBG. To come up with this team, Roberto Tinoco sponsored an international bid that had 70 companies running. The enterprise required global investments of US$554 million, borne by GMB, module suppliers, and the Rio Grande do Sul State Government, employing
2,700 people at first. The fact that system members and GM were in the same building made everything work like a single unit. The plant opened on July 19, 2000, but car sales started on
September 17. Table 1 displays some general quantitative data on the plant.
Table 1. General Information on the