F1 team wants suppliers to speed up on developments

2 October 2002
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03 October 2002 | David Arminas

Formula One racing team BMW WilliamsF1 is undertaking a major review of its management processes, including supplier relations.

The UK-based Williams, one of the most successful F1 teams with 16 world constructor titles and seven world driver titles to its credit, wants to shorten development lead times.

Alex Burns, general manager of Williams Grand Prix Engineering, the Williams partner in the Formula 1 team, said: "We have pretty good relationships with our suppliers already. But we are becoming a lot harder taskmasters, particularly as Ferrari is way ahead in the F1 championship. We'll be focused on product development and innovation from our suppliers."

In the recent Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the BMW Williams cars became the first ever to reach 19,000 RPM, the kind of technical demands that put suppliers under ever increasing pressure to maintain quality.

"For us it's about shorter lead times and product quality," said Burns, an engineer and operations management professional who joined Williams in January. He was a programme manager for supply chain improvements at the Supply Chain Relationships In Aerospace industry body, run by the Society of British Aerospace Companies.

The review and recommendations will be carried out by consultancy Accenture, a major sponsor of Williams for a decade.

Britain's motorsport industry is gearing up to fend off challenges from companies in other European countries seeking to replace the UK as the best place for doing business.

The Department of Trade and Industry recently commissioned a study to compare motorsport sectors in countries including France, Germany and the US, and to examine how large car makers can be persuaded to site their motorsport operations in the UK.


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