As one of the largest automobile manufacturers, General Motors sells cars worldwide and produces parts that are used in many different countries. Like other large automobile manufacturers, GM has at times recalled some of its vehicles due to potential defects. Most recently, GM issued a recall for almost 43,000 vehicles equipped with the eAssist hybrid system due to a defective Generator Control Module that could potentially lead to a fire in the vehicle’s trunk.
Earlier this week, GM announced that it is making a major change that is partly intended to help rein in recalls. For years, the company has investigated potential problems by region and hasn’t always communicated on a worldwide scale. However, the company’s chief information officer, Randy Mott, stated that a new supercomputer data storage center and the development of in-house software will help check dealer service records worldwide and spot problems before they develop into massive recalls.
In the past, GM outsourced about 85 percent of its information technology, which made it more difficult for the company to monitor its factories, production, and developments. Now, however, the company plans to bring 90 percent of the computer work in-house within the next five years. Mott expects the changes to limit the size of safety recalls in the future: “You’d hope that if there is a problem with a set of components, that you understand which components were potentially susceptible and you would expect your recalls to be smaller.”
GM has long promised two state-of-the-art IT facilities, and the company recently announced that it will break ground on one of them this summer. GM plans to consolidate 23 data centers and three information technology suppliers around the world into these two “innovation centers” by 2015. Ultimately, GM hopes that these data centers will enable its engineers and IT staff to monitor data, investigate problems, and create computer simulated crash tests to improve safety and reduce the size of recalls.