June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.147.1 - 14.147.10
A Week in Shanghai: A View from the Trenches in the Convergence of Global Quality Systems Abstract:
Formerly distinct quality systems around the world are converging and students need a range of skills not typically taught in the classroom to succeed in this emerging workplace. Quality systems are converging as global supply chains expand, become more complex, and more multi-national. At first glance, this is a rational and rule-based process with explicit expectations and little ambiguity. What could be more logical than everyone following the same rules – and to make it appear even easier – in English. The global sourcing reality is complex and obfuscated by distance, language and cultural differences. Historically, manufacturing has moved from vertically integrated supply chains within the same company, to locally or nationally-based outsourcing and now to sourcing without geographical limits. With few exceptions, the global logistics, financial, and transportation systems are transparent – that is, we can order, specify, have fabricated, move, pass through borders, and pay for anything from anywhere with very little difficulty. List the companies of origin printed on your computer components and imagine all the engineering and business transactions that took place to get the machine to your desk.
During March, 2008, the authors visited five companies involved in the global automotive supply chain in Shanghai and nearby Pudong, China. This is China’s largest industrial area and center of automotive production. The companies were selected because they are all registered to ISO 9001, TS16949, and all supply American, European, Chinese, and Japanese companies producing vehicles in their home countries and in China. Our central questions emanated from the focus of this paper: what are the central issues/difficulties associated with converging global quality systems? The literature is extensive on the benefits of outsourcing, the inevitability of global supply chains, selection of partners in global supply chain, optimizing supply chain logistics and many other related topics. What seems to be missing is an analysis of what it actually takes to make these systems function. How do we need to incorporate these lessons learned into engineering-related curricula?
Overview: The Flat World: De-verticalization and Globalization of Manufacturing
One of the most important developments of the early twentieth century was the vertical integration of manufacturing. Perhaps the best example was the River Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan where Henry Ford and his able collaborators created a system capable of converting iron ore and coal into Model Ts in less than 2 days.1,2 Ford owned iron mines in Minnesota, coal mines in West Virginia, and rubber plantations in Brazil in his attempt to control the entire supply chain. This model was followed by other large manufacturers such as General Motors and process industries such as Standard Oil. So powerful was this model that through the 1960’s their sheer size and integration fended
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