Evolution of Automobile Manufacturing
Motor vehicles have been an essential means of transport for over a century now. However, cars in the past were not as comfortable and convenient as what we currently have. The visit to the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum and the GM Grand River Facility showed me how both vehicles designs and production processes have changed over time. In the past, the entire assembly process was not automated. Accordingly, many technicians worked on this stage, each dealing with a specific component.
Some of the popular vehicles manufactured by Oldsmobile were Oldsmobile Series 60, Oldsmobile 1905 Touring Runabout Model N, Oldsmobile 1909 REO Touring Car (Model D) REO Motor Car, Lansing MI, and 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado. The GM Grand River facility makes many new models including the Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Camaro, Cadillac CTS, and Cadillac ATS. The main evolution that modern vehicles at the Grand River facility showed over the ones in Old Transportation Museum were the safety equipment. Currently, engineers have put great emphasis on the comfort and the safety of their vehicles. Accordingly, they have include safety features such as airbags, and assisted breaking into vehicles. Another major development is on the infotainment aspect of new vehicles. Cars made in recent years have infotainment systems such as radios and digital video screens on their dashboards. The inclusion of these features is a significant improvement when compared to those that were in the early 20th century.
With regards to the manufacturing process, there has been a major revolution from how vehicles were made in the past to how they are currently manufactured. The most significant change is on the automation process. In the past the entire production line had not been fully automated, which resulted in so many people being employed to assist in routine jobs in the assembly line. Additionally, there was no use of robotics to assist in various tasks the cars assembly line. Currently, the facilities at the GM Grand River facility. The automation of the assembly line and the use of robots ensures that the company is able to complete long and complicated tasks in a short time.
The Olds Museum Tour
Various cars impressed me during the Oldsmobile museum tour. One such vehicle was the Oldsmobile F32. I was particularly impressed by the unique shape of this vehicle and the advancement in technology that were incorporated into the car. This vehicle had white wall tires, which were on wooden wheels. The cars spare tires were clumped on the sides of its bonnet, which made the very accessible. Regarding technological advancement, the vehicle had a six cylinder engine, an engine decarbonizer, double action shock absorbers, coordinated starter and throttle, and a full automatic choke.
Another vehicle that I loved was the Oldsmobile Series 60, the 66 model. This vehicle was first manufactured in 1939, and it had a six-cylinder engine. It was a two-door club coupe. This vehicle was beautifully designed, and its body had impressive curves. The vehicle had a three-speed manual gearbox, which was good for that time.
The museum’s Oldsmobile Series 60, the 68 model was also a beautiful car. This model was bigger than the 66. The 68 model was a four-door buckle back, 9- passenger station wagon. The case was powered using an eight-cylinder engine. The car also had a standard three-speed column shift manual gearbox.
The Oldsmobile 1909 REO Touring Car (Model D) also impressed me because of its simple design and functionality. This car was one of the first vehicles in the world, as such, it did not incorporate a lot of technological advancements. The vehicle had a small two-cylinder engine. Despite its low use of technology, the car was miles ahead of horse-driven carriages. Its high ground clearance made it usable even in marram roads.
Factors Necessary for Automation
Technological changes have played a significant role in the increase in the level of automation in the motor vehicle industry. The technological advancements have led to the development of robots that can be programmed to manufacture specific parts of vehicles. Additionally, the technological advancements have led to the development of automated guided vehicles, which move the vehicles’ parts being assembled into different stages in the assembly line.
The advancement in technical skills has also played a major role in enabling automation of the motor vehicle manufacturing process. Engineers and technicians who work in motor vehicle industry are more trained than those who were in earlier years. In particular, these personnel are knowledgeable in the advanced use of computers, programming, and various systems used in assembly lines. Their advanced skills enable them to work on automated assembly lines comfortably.
Another critical factor for the proper implementation of automation processes is a strong management that focuses on an organized procurement and systematic production chain. For automation to work effectively, there must be timely delivery of essential components for every step in the automation process. In this regard, an organization’s management must be ready to partner with its suppliers by establishing efficient procurement methods such as the just-in-time method.
The automation process has also been facilitated by the sufficient and reliable supply of electricity. Automated assembly lines require electricity in almost all process of their operations such as the powering of control rooms, robotic systems, and the automatic guided vehicles. The increase in electricity supply in the country has thus enabled effective automation processes in the country. Importantly, the availability of affordable electricity has made companies to replace workers with machines. The use of machines has also enabled the standardization of the manufactured motor vehicles.
Relevance to Class
The trip tour was important in enabling me to learn essential business concepts for the running of any organization. In particular, I was able to learn on the importance of research, management, and strategy in the success of any organization. With regards to research, the trip to R.E. Olds Transportation Museum showed me how motor vehicle companies have progressively researched and developed better and more efficient vehicles. It was apparent that the older the car, the less powerful and safe it was. Therefore, advancement in technology, which was mainly driven by technology had led to the development of better vehicles.
The trip to R.E. Olds Transportation Museum also showed me how companies establish strategies to improve the quality of their services while still reducing their costs. For example, I observed that in 1898, the Old Gasoline Engine Works recapitalized and absorbed the Old Motor Vehicle Company. This strategy enabled the new company to reduce its operating costs and also to manufacture higher quality vehicles.
Another important lesson learned from the GM Grand River facility is the need for an efficient supply chain in the production process. The company uses an automated supply chain in this facility, which requires it to have a timely supply of all essential materials. The GM Grand River facility uses the just-in-time procurement method, which enables it to be efficient in its production process. Additionally, this method enables the company to avoid purchasing too many inventories for its operations, in effect enabling it to use less capital for its operations.
Future Lessons
I would like to learn about organization culture, and how the management influences its formation. From my research, I have learned that the management plays a critical role in influencing and determining their organization’s culture. Since the success of any company is among other factors determined by the ability of individuals to work as a team, I will like to understand how managers create ethical cultures in their organizations. On the same vein, I will like the class to have more interaction with the senior management of organizations in the next class meeting so that we can be able to learn how these individuals shape and influence their organization’s culture. Further, we will also learn if their actions have made their organizations successful.
The key moment in my trip to the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum was an opportunity to seat in the Oldsmobile 1909 REO Touring Car (Model D). This was quite an experience, since it is such a rare opportunity. Although I did not start the engine, I was able to imagine what the ride in this vehicle would have been like. Since the car was high, it appeared not to have been safe especially when driving at fast speeds.
In the GM Grand River facility, I had the opportunity of witnessing all the processes in the assembly line. I was impressed by the advanced machines used in the company’s supply chain and how all processes were interconnected. Additionally, I was able to see how the engineers in the control room were able to control all the automated processes in the factory, especially those done by the automated systems. In my opinion, these system is efficient in enabling a company to standardize its outputs and monitor their quality. Equally important, the automated process also enable me to learn the importance of planning in the manufacturing process. In this case, I witnessed that the company had prepared all essential parts needed for vehicles before the assembly process begun. These organization required the use of a just-in-time process to ensure timely delivery of these components by the suppliers while at the same time minimizing the operating costs.
In the future, the school should always notify students two or three months in advance of the tour to a specific organization. This information will enable the students to prepare for the tour in advance. In this case, students can always conduct a background study of the organization and develop appropriate questions that they can ask during the visit.
Additionally, the school can always ask students to give suggestions of the places they would like to visit. This opportunity will enable students to feel that their views are considered during the planning for field trips. More importantly, this participation will enable the students to be more participative during the field trip.
Finally, the schools should always organize a field trip to the same organization at least twice in the year. Normally, most students are unable to develop appropriate questions and also learn in just one trip. The first trip usually exposes students to how an organization operates. Therefore, the use of more than one trip will enable the students to get exposure and have enough time to carry a background study of the company which will help them develop appropriate questions that will be answered by the tour guide.