Phase One

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2002-11-01 Print this article Print

Milestones along General Motors' route to becoming the first all-digital automaker.

Phase One
Month 0: Requirement phase
Data Types: Planning documents and draft bill of materials
Storage Requirement: 2 MB

GM's advanced vehicle development center sits a short distance away from the company's old Fisher Body Plant on the company's campus in Warren. This is where GM's vehicle development process begins, and where many of the key decisions on development are made.

Within this building is an area called the Portfolio Zone, where GM's management, planners and product-line executives hash out the future of the company's lineup. This is the home of the "virtual courtyard"—the three-screened virtual reality room where the SSR's digital doppelganger was displayed.

Based on market trends, an analysis of competitor's products, and outside forces like government regulations and pending legislation, GM's planners come up with two documents: a draft bill of materials that outlines what elements need to go into a vehicle (emissions controls, engine size, etc.), and a Document of Strategic Intent, a list of high-level product recommendations for the vehicle's architecture, location of manufacturing, and deadlines for production and financial performance.

The Advanced Vehicle Development group at Warren routes these documents to a secure Web site on GM's intranet. This is a board made up of key managers from GM's functional divisions, including engineering, manufacturing and finance. Once the requirements have been approved, they get handed off to designers for execution.


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