How General Motors Discovered The Latest Recall Using Its New ‘Speak Up For Safety’ Initiative5
Just this past week, General Motors recalled approximately 3,000 vehicles over an ignition switch issue that could cause the airbags to not deploy in the event of an accident. Even though the cause of the recall and the defect leading to it is different from that which resulted in GM’s now-infamous ignition switch recall that affected 2.5 million vehicles and is linked to 124 deaths, the description sounds eerily too similar:
“In affected vehicles, the ignition lock actuator may bind, making turning the key difficult or causing the ignition to get stuck”, reads the NHTSA recall notice. “if stuck in the Start position, the ignition may suddenly snap back into the Accessory position, causing a loss of engine, steering, and braking power, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash. If the vehicle is in a crash, the air bags may not deploy, increasing the risk of occupant injury.”
But perhaps all that is the equivalent of missing the forest for the trees. Maybe what’s more important is the how — how General Motors discovered the defect that led to this recall.
When the big ignition switch recall was in its heyday in 2014, GM initiated a new program entitled Speak Up For Safety. The goal of the program is to encourage employees to speak up to superiors about any safety-related issues in its vehicles. From there, supervisors must file the issue presented by the employee into a formal process, which handles each report and determines the severity of the problem. It was via the Speak Up For Safety program that GM discovered the latest ignition switch recall. And it was before any reports of accidents or injuries.
“A company employee driving his own vehicle told other engineers about it and they submitted the ‘Speak Up for Safety’ form,” said GM spokesman Alan Adler.
More than anything, Speak Up For Safety makes concrete and official the process surrounding safety issues in GM’s vehicles. The process makes complete sense given that the infamous ignition switch recall would not have been nearly as bad for GM if it weren’t for the fact that some of its engineers knew about the defect back in 2003, but failed to bring it up to management. Speak Up For Safety aims to solve that and, if this latest recall is any indication, the program is working, translating to safer cars for the public and a better General Motors.
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Classic. No comments when its a good story about proactive management decisions that save lives and make for a better company all around. But run a story about how a gas cap can fall of a vehicle and, from the response, you would think the company was caught for purposely building cars that explode without provocation.
I gave you a thumbs up, but GM Authority does posts good news about GM management changes, since Mary Barra shook out the bad managemeent members that caused the original ignition switch problem. This is the new GM this site is doing a great job of posting about it.
Thanks. I know GM Authority does that. I love reading this site because they do not post only good news. We must be able to have a place to hear the good and bad, otherwise we become mindless lemmings (so many means things to say about Ford and Dodge here, from which I will refrain). In any case, this is the type of story for which we should all climb to the tallest rooftop and cheer. We need to support this, because if we do not then capitalist greed will put it aside. We need to let them (the industry) see that we think this program is fantastic. There are a lot of executives who read in shock, for very obvious reasons, when CEO Barra announced this program. They are watching now to see how long it will last before it fades and how fast from memory.
Mary has done a great job so far and continued the culture change Lutz started. I worried after he left one would pick up the ball and continue to advance it but Mary has done more in her short time than 4 of the other past leaders did un their entire terms.
Like the one post here about has GM changed in the last 5 years? Well yes and this story is only one of many that can be found.
So, was speak up for safety responsible for the 1.4m vehicle recall GM just announced?
The one where oil dripping on your engine can cause the engine to catch on fire?
These are 15 year-old cars. So I guess it’s safe to say a) Detroit, we have a problem, and b) man, they made a lot of problematic cars back then …