— Staff and wire reports
WARREN, Mich. — General Motors Co. says a new supercomputing data center and a fledgling shift to bring software development in-house should help it limit the size of future safety recalls.
The Detroit automaker, which formally opened the giant data storage center in suburban Warren, Mich., on Monday, said the changes are examples of how it is moving faster to cut costs and serve its customers better by bringing more computer technology inside the company.
In the past, GM’s regional operations tracked problems by themselves, sometimes without communicating with other regions, even though many of its cars are now sold worldwide. Engineers in one region would check a problem part, but it wasn’t studied worldwide, at least not at the early stages.
Now, with new software developed by GM’s so-called innovation centers and the data storage, problems are spotted quickly when they crop up across the globe, and they’re assigned to the right engineer who can work with parts makers to fix the problem faster, said Randy Mott, the company’s chief information officer.
“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,” Mott said. “You identify it earlier and you certainly limit it to only the ones affected by whatever the problem was.”
GM, which typically sells more than 9 million vehicles worldwide each year, makes cars and trucks in 30 different countries. Many of its parts are common worldwide, so if there is a recall, it can be large and costly. When problems are spotted and fixed early, the size and cost can be held down, Mott said.
GM also said Monday that it will build a duplicate data storage center about 40 miles from Warren at its proving grounds in Milford, Mich. During the next two years, the company will close 23 data centers worldwide and consolidate them into the two new facilities. GM says data centers at Google and Facebook were benchmarked to draw up plans for the state-of-the art facilities.