GM, Configuration Management and Recalls


For weeks, we have heard about recall after recall of General Motors automobiles. Prior to this week, the total number of autos recalled exceeded the total number of vehicles manufactured by GM during the last 7 years.

There are clearly problems with GM’s engineering change order (ECO) process that are contributing to these recalls. The process should be uncovering with great clarity the factors driving the change so the change control board can ensure appropriate action is taken. The ECO process isn’t uncovering critical information that the Change Control Board can rely upon.

Too many change control processes confuse 2 critical aspects of engineering change orders: part number change reidentification practices are comingled with change implementation considerations. For example, how the change is to be implemented influences how the change is documented and whether a new part number is required or if a revision to an existing part number is needed. Thus, a subjective “severity curve” is used to determine how the part reidentification is to occur undermining the configuration management process.

In the case of GM, the configuration management process isn’t addressing essential business needs. This is no way to help a company thrive and ensure effective business execution.

Photo courtesy Michael Kumm on


Is your ECO process supporting your business as effectively as it should? For the vast majority of companies, the answer is a resounding “no.” I offer a 2-hour teleseminar:

How To Eliminate Breakdowns In Your Engineering Change Order Process


Thought for the week:

“There are two kinds of worries – those that you can do something about and those you can’t. Don’t spend any time on the latter.” – Duke Ellington


 What do you think? I welcome your comments!

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

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