Bus520- Integrating Cases Essay examples

26515 Words Apr 10th, 2011 107 Pages

BMW’S Dream Factory and Culture
BMW, with more than $60 billion in sales, is much smaller than its American rivals. However, the U.S. auto giants could still learn some things from BMW. Detroit’s rigid bureaucracies have been slow to respond to competitive threats and market trends. In contrast, BMW’s management system is flat, flexible, entrepreneurial—and fast. Few companies have been as consistent as BMW at producing an ever-changing product line, with near flawless quality, that consumers like. BMW has redefined luxury design with its 7 Series, created enthusiasm for its Mini, and maintained some of the highest profit margins in the auto industry. A sporty four-wheeldrive coupe and a stylish
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Culture Much of BMW’s success stems from an entrepreneurial culture that is rare in corporate Germany. Management in Germany is usually top-down, and the cultural gulf between workers and managers is significant. BMW’s 106,000 employees, however, have become a network of committed associates with few hierarchical barriers to hinder innovation. From the moment they set foot inside the company, associates experience a sense of place, history, and mission. Individuals from all levels of BMW work side by side. They create informal networks where even the most unorthodox ideas for making better Bimmers or boosting profits can be voiced. BMW buyers may not know it, but when they slide behind the wheel, they are driving a vehicle born of thousands of impromptu brainstorming sessions. BMW, in fact, might just be the chattiest auto company ever. Claussen comments: “The difference at BMW is that [managers] don’t think we have all the right answers. Our job is to ask the right questions.” That’s not to say this freewheeling idea factory hasn’t made its share of blunders over the years. In 2001, BMW alienated customers with its iDrive control system. The device was designed to help drivers quickly move through hundreds of information and entertainment functions with a single knob. It proved incomprehensible to many buyers. Rival Audi is narrowing the gap with BMW in Europe by producing a new generation of stylish, high-performance cars that have topped consumer polls. Toyota’s

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