Quest for Excellence: Delphi
“To be successful in product technology and innovation you need to have strong advanced engineering.”
— Jose Marie Alapont, Delphi
Currently going into its fourth year of independence from GM, Delphi’s target is to have a customer base with 50 percent of its sales to non GM customers in 2005.
That strategy is well on its way. Last year it was 64 percent GM versus 36 percent outside GM and for 2003 it is tracking in the 60 percent versus 40 percent range. Looking at the global breakdown, Delphi projects NAFTA sales of $20 billion with another $8 billion outside NAFTA.
“GM remains our largest customer, then DaimlerChrysler and Ford follow,” Jose Marie Alapont, international director of sales and marketing says. “But bottom line today is we are supplying to all car manufacturers without exception.”
How is Delphi transforming its customer and geographic base so rapidly? Mainly through product technology and innovation. “To be successful in product technology and innovation you need to have strong advanced engineering. Once you have a strong strategy in engineering, the second part is to execute,” explains Alapont. “ To execute we developed our Delphi manufacturing systems.
“These are based on lean manufacturing, but that was only the base. Now we are talking about the lean enterprise, taking the concept far beyond manufacturing and making it part of the design, the engineering and a part of all the support activities for manufacturing and a part of our global supplier management activities.”
Delphi has a strategy of driving lean engineering to the best low cost locations it can find. Maintaining its main systems engineering centers in the U.S., Western Europe and Japan, it has brought component technical centers to Mexico and Poland and software and electronics to India. It will soon open yet another new tech center in the Asia/Pacific region.
Combining an engineering approach that produces innovation-ondemand with lean enterprise principles, results in the quality excellence Delphi needs for its products. According to Alapont, “in the car industry you need to be excellent in first-time quality of your product. Then you also need to be excellent in servicing customers on all products that you supply.”