GM honors Hitachi as corporation of year

September 29, 2004|BOBBIE CURD

HARRODSBURG - As the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, General Motors works with tens of thousands of suppliers yearly. Of the massive number of companies that supply GM, 77 are selected as Supplier of the Year.

Then it comes down to one - Corporation of the Year.

Hitachi Automotive Products (USA) Inc., based in Japan and headquartered in Harrodsburg, received the honor Tuesday.

"We are very happy to have won this - it's a prestigious award," said Dave Edwards, human resources manager at Hitachi.

The company is the largest employer in Mercer County, with more than 750 employees. Hitachi is a supplier for Nissan, Toyota, Mercedes and GM, just to name a few.

A cafeteria full of 200 plus employees lined up to a buffet-style meal Tuesday in celebration of Hitachi winning the 2003 Corporation of the Year Award from GM. There are roughly 250 employees who are dedicated to the General Motors projects.


The atmosphere was upbeat; employees from the project groups and executives alike were talkative and lively. Just minutes before, they were silently attentive as an executive from GM in Detroit presented a slide show.

Award based on several criteria

Orlando Bustus, the GM worldwide executive director of purchasing, said the award is based on superior culture, organizational capabilities and competitive advantage (pricing).

He explained how the day-to-day procedures are what really make the difference in the end and how everyone at the plant should be proud of their individual contributions.

Edwards agreed. "Without these people, we wouldn't have made Supplier of the Year eight consecutive years, let alone Corporation of the Year. They are dedicated."

The general manager of Hitachi in Kentucky, Herb Nakajiima, seemed pleased to pose with some of his management team alongside visiting GM management members from Detroit, who had spent most of the morning on site at Hitachi.

The actual presentation ceremony was held in Prague, Czech Republic, earlier this year. Tajii Hasegawa, CEO of automotive systems, received the award for the company. The trophy will reside at the Japan location permanently.

Hitachi may not have had the actual trophy on hand for Tuesday's celebration, but it had plenty of others. The eight years' worth of trophies for Supplier of the Year were displayed proudly on the table next to the podium.

The past few years have proven to be tough for some factories in the area. When questioned about the reason for Hitachi's overall success rate in 2003, Edwards responded, "Our employees. They know it's our responsibility to make a good product efficiently, and they are goal-oriented. They want to make a good product, and they know that our success now leads to future business and future success."

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