Project Management in the Automotive Industry: A Critical Review

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The chapter ‘Project Management in the Automotive Industry’ by Christophe Midler and Christian Navarre from The Wiley Guide to Managing Projects (September 2004) traces the inception and transformation of project management in the automotive industry from the post-war period to the early years of the new millennium. It is an interesting article which categorizes the period into four phases on the basis of organizational structure and strategy pertinent to most of the automotive manufacturers in each era. This classification helps the authors elaborate on the change in corporate structures and relationships within the organization and with their subcontractors over the years. Examples of leading car manufacturers have shown how project management has developed into an essential aspect of managing complex activities, and how the automotive industry has steadily evolved from being function-oriented and bureaucratic to being innovation-oriented and modular. Throughout the article, the authors’ focus has been on changes in automotive organizations in terms of their hierarchy, individual responsibilities, inter-organizational communication and product strategies. The details of project management aspects novel to each phase have been presented with an extensive research and illustrations. Examples of leading car manufacturers such as Chrysler, Renault and Toyota help relate the authors’ theories with real world situations. It is interesting to note how the vertical corporate structure from the first phase was gradually complemented by a horizontal line of authority as organizations embraced project functions to cope with the ever-increasing number of products and their decreasing life cycles. A clear trend of differentiation of projects... ... middle of paper ... ...n. "Twenty Years after the Embargo US Oil Import Dependence and How It Can Be Reduced." Energy Policy 22.6 (1994): 471-85. Print. (4) Abel, Ivan, Maali Ashamalla, and Robert Camp. Competitiveness of the US Automotive Industry: Past, Present, and Future. Rep. 2nd ed. Vol. 10. Indiana: American Society for Competitiveness, 2010. Print. (5) Liker, Jeffrey K. The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004. Print. (6) Pandremenos, J., J. Paralikas, K. Salonitis, and G. Chryssolouris. "Modularity Concepts for the Automotive Industry: A Critical Review." CIRP Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology 1.3 (2009): 148-52. Print. (7) Adams, W. M. The Future of Sustainability: Re-thinking Environment and Development in the Twenty-first Century. Rep. The World Conservation Union, 22 May 2006. Web. 23 Oct. 2013.
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