COMMENT. There can be few positions in a large global engineering company where it is vitally important to bridge the gap between two disparate divisions – engineering and metallurgy in order to capitalise on the expertise that is available.
Working in isolation, each business, GKN Drivelines and GKN Powder Metallurgy can function quite adequately. Yet in order for each to operate at the maximum of its capabilities, it is vitally important they work in harmony and assist one another to achieve their goals.
It is all too easy for the “not invented here” syndrome to creep in and undermine the potential on offer. Yet one has to imagine that the question uppermost on the minds of senior executives in GKN Drivelines is: How can we make best use of sintered products to improve our products, and offer our customers a superior yet cost-effective product.
By the same token, uppermost in the minds of GKN Powder Metallurgy (aside from finding higher performance materials and lower manufacturing routes) is the matter of how can we increase our applications within GKN Drivelines, because this will help us to penetrate other vendors – even OEMs – making similar products.
Bridging this gap, and bringing the two groups closer together, one imagines must be the role of the engineering president who, through his intimate knowledge of product and technology, can find ways for the two divisions to network and widen their horizons
Over the years, sintered automotive products have made great strides by way of improving their penetration into engines, transmissions, drive axles and other complex products where near-net-shapes have an important part to play in improving performance and reducing manufacturing costs. Even so, there is a belief there is much that lays undiscovered.
What is required is for none other than the proverbial and tireless enthusiast with a metal detector to constantly and painstakingly the search the field for the gold coins that inevitably lay beneath the surfac
This surely has a parallel with the role of engineering president: ever challenging, ever motivating, ever questioning and ever breaking down barriers that inhibit positive thinking. Only in this way can the full benefits of “leveraging synergies” be achieved.