The Cheetah is the world’s fastest land-based animal and right now, Saab is looking to employ some speed when dealing with reorganising its business. We are aiming to make substantial efficiency gains and cost savings as we become more competitive for the future.
Work began on Project Cheetah on the strategic level even before the reorganisation decision came through. Today, just days after the reorganisation decision, meetings are already taking place around the company with individual sections of the business looking at how they can do things smarter, leaner and meaner.
Saab has a well-ingrained culture of consultation, seeking suggestions from employees as to how their particular work area can operate better. Saab actually won a Swedish lean production award a few years ago for it’s work in developing and implementing this type of system. Cheetah is this process on steroids, with everyone involved.
Cheetah is a cost-structure project. It doesn’t specifically look at how to increase sales and revenue. That’s the other side of our profitability equation that will receive intense attention. Cheetah will play into this, however, because getting ourselves even more competitive, coming through the reorganisation process successfully and getting production up and running again will play a significant part in boosting consumer confidence about the future of Saab.
Cheetah is being overseen by a steering group, under which four functional teams are being used to look at the whole business structure at Saab. The four functional teams are:
- Manufacturing and purchasing
- Product development, including engineering and powertrain
- Sales, Marketing, Aftersales and communication
There will also be a cross-functional team to handle appropriate areas requiring co-ordination between the four functional teams.
The individual units within these teams will be getting together very quickly, taking suggestions from the troops on the ground as to how their operations can be better and more efficiently structured. Much of our recent past has been involved with the carve-out of business operations from the systems that were in place from the GM days. Cheetah will be an opportunity to create a new ‘Saab way’ of working more efficiently and effectively within our own systems, instead of working in transition as we’ve done in the recent past.
The initial workings of the project are expected to be completed late October. This will be the consultation and planning process. We will seek to implement changes discovered during the consultation and planning process by the end of 2011 in order to have the new, more competitive structure in place for the beginning of 2012.