Garcia’s Iveco staying power
The boss says Dandenong plant is in no danger, writes GRAHAMSMITH THE PLANT IS A COST TO THE COMPANY, BUT YOU CAN LOOK AT IT AS A BURDEN OR AN ASSET
DESPITE persistent rumours to the contrary, Iveco is not going anywhere. What’s more, it’s not about to stop local manufacture of its trucks.
That’s the blunt message from Jorge Garcia, the company’s Argentine managing director who took over the reins early last year, charged with the responsibility of reviving the company’s fortunes.
‘‘Iveco has no plan, no intention of leaving this market. In fact, it has demonstrated by its actions that it’s staying put by making a huge investment in the local operation,’’ he tells Big Wheels.
‘‘There is so much going on I am surprised these stories are still being heard.’’
Garcia admits, however, he has a big job on his hands if he wants to turn the ailing truckmaker around before he moves on to his next assignment later this year.
When he arrived here, Garcia found a company in crisis. Management was dysfunctional, employees were demoralised and dealers unhappy, and rumours that local production would cease refused to go away.
Garcia’s first task was to change management style.
His predecessor had run a oneman show, but Garcia is a team player. He was charged with building a team of people able to contribute to the company’s success without depending totally on the man at the helm.
In the past year Garcia has swept through the company’s Dandenong plant like a new broom, appointing new managers to most senior management positions. Some were promoted from within, others he re- cruited locally. In some cases he’s looked overseas.
‘‘We have changed almost the whole management team,’’ he says.
‘‘We have moved some people from our overseas operation into this company at a time when Iveco is expanding its activities in China, Russia and Latin America, which has been a big drain on its human resources.’’
He also found a crisis in the implementation of a new system intended to streamline sales, finance and production processes, but instead had been causing huge headaches for many months.
The glitches in the system have been smoothed out and it’s now working as it should, Garcia says. But the 12 months of pain led to frustration and disappointment at all levels, particularly among dealers.
Garcia has also moved to quell rumours he’d been sent to Australia to close the plant and replace locally produced trucks with ones imported from China.
‘‘I don’t understand why these rumours are circulating,’’ he told Big Wheels recently. ‘‘There is no question of closing the plant and never has been.’’
Iveco wants to be a global player in the truck industry, Garcia says, and that means it has to have a presence in every market.
‘‘The plant is a cost to the company, that’s for sure, but you can look at it as a burden or an asset,’’ he says now. ‘‘We are looking at it as an asset that can be used to give us an advantage.’’
Team player: Iveco managing director Jorge Garcia.