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

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Big Wheels -

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.

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