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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know what is what anymore!

I'd like to think I'm a pretty sharp guy, but reading the stuff I read on this site in conjuction with the little info I receive from the dealership gets me more and more confused each day. :willy:

Perhaps I just misunderstand what I read, not knowing the industry jargon. I think I understand it this way: I ordered my car the way I wanted it, it was submitted to GM as an order, it met the criteria they have so it was accepted as one of the cars in the dealer initial allocation, then it sits there until GM picks up the order and at that time they say whether or not they can deliver the car the way you ordered it. If they can't, you have choices to make...take it as they are willing to deliver it or wait.

I spoke with my dealer this morning with the expection that initial allocation orders would have been "picked up" on Tuesday (I believe I read this on another thread.) He first stated that I seemd to have more information that he was getting from Pontiac. I told him I didn't know what was true or not. He stated that none of his initial allocation orders have been picked up. Then he said that when they are, if leather isn't an option, he would call me and see if I would take cloth. :eek: This gets me a bit nervous, especially after someone posted (on another thread) that their order was picked up in front of the orders with leather.

Then he said that because of summer shut downs, no orders of any vehicles including trucks will be picked up for two weeks. Basically, he said don't bother me about this until the 3rd week of July.

He did tell me that he's already had two people come back and get their deposit back, especially after the reality set in that they would get their car in the dead of winter.

SO HERE'S THE FUNNY PART: After 2-3 months of following the progress of this car, I still don't know any more than the day I put down my $1,000. In fact, I know less. Okay, I know more about the car itself, but less about delivery. When I put down my $1k I was told I would get my car as I ordered it as soon as August or as late as October. Now, I may get it as I ordered, I may not, I may get it as ordered before October, I may not.
:banghead:

It seems that Pontiac has stepped up a bit in letting the First 1,000 know what is going on, I wish they'd do the same for the other 8,000 (forgive me if that figure is off, but I think I read they've take 9,000 pre-orders) who've been willing to put a deposit down.

I understand they are going to make the First 1,000 as ordered as much as possible. I just think if they are filling certain orders due to the way they were ordered i.e. doing cloth orders before leather they should be up front about it and have the dealers contact people and say, "what is important to you? Do you want your car first with whatever, or do you want to wait? Do you want to change your order to get it quicker?" I'm perfectly able to make a choice, but I hate uncertainty.

I'm sure Pontiac doesn't want to respond to every rumor out there, but when it makes people start thinking about getting their deposit back, you'd think they'd want to clear the air a bit.

Geez I'm pissed, I really thought this would all be cleared up today. :mad:

Ok I'll shut up now.
 

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In case GM is listening

I could have written the same posting (except that my dealer never indicated when I’d get the car). In a time when you can order a $30 memory card on line from some podunk vendor and they can tell you the ship date and time and then Fed Ex can tell you exactly where your card is, you would think that GM could come up with an on-line system to keep customers informed as to the status of their order.
 

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wrightpwx said:
I could have written the same posting (except that my dealer never indicated when I’d get the car). In a time when you can order a $30 memory card on line from some podunk vendor and they can tell you the ship date and time and then Fed Ex can tell you exactly where your card is, you would think that GM could come up with an on-line system to keep customers informed as to the status of their order.
That $30 card is real in existense and sitting on somebody's shelf gathering dust before you ordered it. Your Sol is still a list of "just-in-time" parts from 100 vendors that have yet to be built themselves. Example, if the schedule is to build 100 cars on Tuesday, then at the end of shift on Monday there are ZERO tires/wheels on the shop floor but somehow miraculously during the night 400 wheels/tires show up on the doorstep. There are not 1000 steering columns sitting at Wilmington waiting for the 1000 already built (which they aren't) chassis to come down the line. There are not 1000 sets of gauges there either. Nor 1000 pairs of seats. The big boys make all the little people pay for warehouse space nowadays.
 

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The way I read wrightpwx's post, I get the feeling what he's looking for is a way to go online and look at the status of his order instead of calling his dealer over and over. I agree that building a car is more complex than building commodity memory cards but still, it sure would be nice to go to a GM web site and see your name and order info with some sort of status. Hopefully one that changes frequently.
 

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:agree:

Especially considering that GM already has all of this information computerized. Heck, you ought to be able to "see" the car going down the assembly line. Maybe someday.....
 

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Dell (and other PC manufacturers) use just in time manufacturing and yet they manage (given, not always correctly) to inform you of the current state of your PC as it's being assembled and estimated completion/ship date (and arrival date). If GM has any control over their systems and has even remotely decent management they have to have this info. themselves so why not share it with the rest of us?

If they really had no idea when these cars would roll off the line how can they possibly schedule employees, trucks, parts orders, etc. or manage their costs, inventory and cash flow? There are a lot of smart people working for the general, I guarantee you one of them knows to at least 98% certainty when solstice #1 and solstice #1000 (and #582 for that matter) will roll off the line.
 

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solsticedreamin said:
Dell (and other PC manufacturers) use just in time manufacturing and yet they manage (given, not always correctly) to inform you of the current state of your PC as it's being assembled and estimated completion/ship date (and arrival date). If GM has any control over their systems and has even remotely decent management they have to have this info. themselves so why not share it with the rest of us?
If we were talking about a car that was already in regular production, I might agree with you. But GM has not built any deliverable cars yet. Once they get into production of the First 1000, they will be in a start-stop-start rhythm, as they s-l-o-w-l-y gear up to line production rate. I don't think they want to make any commitments on how long it will take them to ramp up their production rate. It is a brand new car on a brand new platform with an undefined learning curve. It will take as long as it takes, but no-one really knows how long that will be.

Patience, everyone. We are getting closer, and it hopefully won't be much longer now. :)
 

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With a brand new production line and a brand new model, one would think that GM is going to build these cars with maximal efficiency. Managing the information is one key to this. Here's hoping that once production starts something like this web-based order info system will be possible.
 

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Project management uncertainty and risk

solsticedreamin said:
Dell (and other PC manufacturers) use just in time manufacturing and yet they manage (given, not always correctly) to inform you of the current state of your PC as it's being assembled and estimated completion/ship date (and arrival date). If GM has any control over their systems and has even remotely decent management they have to have this info. themselves so why not share it with the rest of us?

If they really had no idea when these cars would roll off the line how can they possibly schedule employees, trucks, parts orders, etc. or manage their costs, inventory and cash flow? There are a lot of smart people working for the general, I guarantee you one of them knows to at least 98% certainty when solstice #1 and solstice #1000 (and #582 for that matter) will roll off the line.
Having done project management on some small projects, I can tell you that it is amazingly difficult to predict with 70% certainty (let alone 98% certainty) exactly when a given project will be completed.

Let's look at the 98% carefully. To get to 98% certainty, as a project manager, you'd need to get your estimates right 98 times out of 100, or 49 times out of 50. If you look at a smaller number of projects, you basically need to get them all right. Is that possible? Well, maybe. Is it likely? Certainly not!

Now let's examine GM's tasks for this brand new platform. Achieftain said it best:
achieftain said:
Your Sol is still a list of "just-in-time" parts from 100 vendors that have yet to be built themselves. Example, if the schedule is to build 100 cars on Tuesday, then at the end of shift on Monday there are ZERO tires/wheels on the shop floor but somehow miraculously during the night 400 wheels/tires show up on the doorstep. There are not 1000 steering columns sitting at Wilmington waiting for the 1000 already built (which they aren't) chassis to come down the line. There are not 1000 sets of gauge gauges there either. Nor 1000 pairs of seats. The big boys make all the little people pay for warehouse space nowadays.
In project management, these "just-in-time" parts are what are called external dependencies.

What are External Dependencies?
These are tasks and delivery schedules that are essentially in someone else's control. The best you can do is contact the supplier and request that they give you a realistic estimate of their production readiness. You can place an order for a specific number of "units" from them, but they too have the same supplier issues for certain parts of the assembly, so they too have those nasty external dependencies.​

What do these external dependencies do to the project?
They add uncertainty and risk to budget and schedule.​

What other risk factors are there?
  • Introduction of a new platform.
  • Increased use of Hydroforming.
  • High customer expectations.
The list goes on, but I trust the point is clear.​

How do you reduce the uncertainty and risk?
There are ways to reduce the uncertainty and risk which include having multiple suppliers, constant communications with the suppliers, setting customer expectations appropriately, and placing management reserve into the overall project.​

What's Management Reserve?
This is the scheduling and financial buffering that is built into the schedule and cost estimates. Management Reserve is often tracked separately to cover schedule delays and cost over-runs. In point of fact, it is actually not being truthful to produce a project plan without management reserve because the likely hood that everything will go exactly as planned is almost zero. Thus, even if you provide a schedule with all estimates set at reasonable expectations for cost and schedule, you have not really told the truth about how long the project will take and how much it will cost if you have not included Management Reserve.​

OK, enough of the Project Management 101--What does this mean for the Solstice?
GM has tried to set our customer expectation correctly, saying that realistically, they can produce the first 1000 vehicles by end of October (the fourth quarter of 2005). They have also built some management reserve into their process. However, as dengel pointed out, this is a completely new platform, so the uncertainty of production dates is at best a sum of the uncertainties in each of the areas I discussed above.

For the Solstice, this means that, as others have said, and to quote dengel:
dengel said:
Patience, everyone. We are getting closer, and it hopefully won't be much longer now. :)
Web based tracking
With regard to communications and setting up a web site to track production, sure, that might be a good move, but as we saw with the display of Target Production Week values from their VOM interface, this can be a double edged sword.

The problem is that some people believe that, once they see a date written, it is a real production date. If that date then slips further out due to one of the risk factors we talked about, then a percentage of folks will be very upset. I think that it was very smart of GM to remove from public view their Target Production Week assignments for specific units (via the VOM system). If we had a far less passionate group, then it might work to allow folks to see these internal planning dates since they are the dates to which GM is working at any given moment. Having said that, however, I am cynical enough to believe that the excitement generated by this vehicle is too great to allow for a calm, accepting response from all of the customers who would see the data.

Rather, I believe that in a fair number of cases, there would be rants, screams, and worse from some whose dates were moved later. Handling uncertainty and delayed gratification requires maturity and a more Zen like attitude; indeed most of the members here on the forum exhibit those characteristics. The majority notwithstanding, there are a sufficient number of very passionate folks who are VERY concerned about and disappointed by any appearance of a production delay or other issue, and become quite boisterous when production issues surface in the information we've been getting.

Thus, on balance, I believe it would be very dangerous for GM to set-up a web site with this type of tracking information.

The Solstice has, by it's design, inspired more enthusiasm than any vehicle in my recent memory. The Solstice has a passionate following, some of whom have, in their eagerness, beset their dealers with questions and requests for information. A few of them even to the point where the dealership says, in effect, "Go away kid; you bother me."​

Actual data sources currently available:
There is still an avenue by which to watch the production process for the car. The status codes in the VOM system are still visible. Each vehicle must go through each status before moving on to the next. Hypur originally posted the following description of the codes:
HYPUR said:
  • 3000 means accepted by production control.
  • 3100 means available to be sequenced.
  • 3300 means scheduled for production and they also have a term TPW which means "Target Production Week" always on a Monday , example 7-18 or 8-8 both Mondays.
  • 3400 broadcast.
  • 4000 available to ship.
  • 4200 shipped.
  • 5000 at dealer.
[see link to VOM Production Code Meanings for more discussion of these codes and links to further discussion of the jargon]

Thus, while it is very frustrating to have an order in the VOM system which has not yet reached code "3000" which basically means "picked up by GM for production scheduling" [see link to VOM Production Code Meanings], that piece of information means that the vehicles which have not yet been coded 3000 are less likely to be produced earlier than VOM orders which have already been coded 3000.​

Production start date speculations and [un]certainty:
At present, our best guesses as to the production start date are somewhere in the earlier part of July (I'm being deliberately vague). However, do not forget how I started this post--this is at best an uncertain date.

Oh, one last note from Project Management 101, the risk and the uncertainty are lower toward the end of the project because many of the tasks which provided risk earlier on are now certainties written in history (the tasks have been done and the outcome is known.) Thus, in English: "The closer the date gets to the production start, the greater the certainty with which we know that date." Since it's getting close, the certainty is higher, but I'm not sure we're all the way up to 98% yet. We will be at 100% sometime after the first units have been coded 4200.​

Long post, I know, but maybe it was worth reading... maybe... :leaving:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
All I'm asking for is a bit more accurate communication...

for the people who aren't in the First 1000, but have shown a commitment to the product. Especially when you've actually put money down.

This is just a small example (and not one that matters much)...

I ordered a car with aluminum brushed nobs...can your dealer tell you whether or not that is how they will come? Do you think Ponitac has the ability to let them know? I bet they do...and maybe they do...but it seems to me we all just have to guess. Just like we sit and guess whether we get the options ordered.

I can wait, it is no big deal, but I want to know what I'm getting.

:patriot:
 

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Another quick (I promise) point to make related to this subject is that GM ends up being totally dependent on the slowest acting supplier of parts. If any supplier breaks down or can't cmoply with production schedule then evrthing stops until an alternative can be found. This may be the trouble wit the leather. GM may have originally secured a source that can produce "x" but now finds it needs "y". If "A" can achieve "y" without trouble or extra time or cost then it is a nonissue. If not then "B" will be hired to either produce "y" - "x" or "y" entirely. Also if QC of "A" is not up to snuff then "B" will get a chance.
 

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Obviously GM can't tell with any real certainty exactly how fast things are going to flow just yet. But they must have some idea what kind of build order they are going with. Or at least they will at some point before production actually begins. There has been speculation about how they will be grouped, but nobody seems to be giving any official word. And it does not appear they will be giving that information out. That's what I have a problem with. We should at least be getting some kind of estimated date to give us an idea where our car falls in production. They have already covered their ass by telling us not to expect the car until October for the first 1000. But now it's time to give us all a better idea of where our order falls. An estimated week of production would be good even if they jump through hoops to tell us it could be delayed or even add a week or two to the estimate to be on the safe side. Once production starts, they should be able to tell us whether to expect our car in about two weeks or two months. Instead, it appears they're going to wait to tell everybody until their car actually rolls off the line. That's really annoying. I don't care if my car is the first of the 1000 or the last of the 1000 ... I just want to know when I can expect it. At least give us the order so I can do my own deduction about the date. I know the estimate won't be exact, but knowing the order would eliminate a whole month of the variable. In other words, if I know my car will be the last of the 1000, I know it will be at least a month beyond the first car. And that's what I care about. GM should have realized people just want to be informed of what's going on. Remember a month or so ago before they sent out the first e-mail update? Everybody was fuming about the lack of information. And then people settled down for the most part once they were told what was going on (even though the October date was later than people were expecting). Just throw us a bone here and give us some idea of what to expect. I have a car to sell and finances to arrange and I really don't want to be juggling everything with only two weeks notice when they could give me a much better idea, even if they still play it safe and say October is the "official" date.

I realize it's even harder for those of you who don't fall in the first 1000. Don't get me wrong ... I think everybody should be getting that information. There's no reason to leave things so vague. It's kind of like an expectant father talking to the doctor. He gets some kind of estimate about the due date and even though it can never be certain or exact, it gives some peace of mind in knowing. If the baby arrives a month early or late, that's life and you deal with it ... but I'd still like to have that educated guess, even if it's not at all certain.
 

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Message seems the same to me.

photog321 said:
It seems that Pontiac has stepped up a bit in letting the First 1,000 know what is going on, I wish they'd do the same for the other 8,000 (forgive me if that figure is off, but I think I read they've take 9,000 pre-orders) who've been willing to put a deposit down.
Keep in mind that GM Corp. only has the names of those of us who participated in the EOP. For everyone else the dealer is your only line of contact. The dealers that have First 1000 customers get the same info that we do. However, I am not sure what information the other dealers are getting. Once again it seems they have been very consistant with the message. "They will be here by October." Now it is looking like they could be here a bit earlier. If we understand that they can not give an exact date then the next best thing is to know who you come after. First 1000 by Octobers, first 4 month allocation within the next 4 months after that.
 

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Well the First 1000 are, as everyone knows, going to be first.

But what I'm curious about is wether or not there is going to be any order to how the rest of them are done and what determines this order? Like say, if Joe Schmoe puts down his thousand tomorrow and I put my thousand down last month; certainly I should get my car before him right? Another way to look at it is since I put in my deposit almost 2 months after the big Apprentice rush, I would expect not to get my car the very first week after the last of the 1K are delivered... but could I? I would love to have it that soon, but I know a lot of others would be pissed.

I'm just wondering that since there's been talk of production order being determined by things like the color chosen and what options you want, would that mean I'd get my car sooner because I didn't want leather or any stereo upgrades? And say Mr. Schmoe ordered the base with no AC for $19,995, would he get his even sooner because it requires less and is easier to build?

This is why estimates are good. We all know the first 1000 are locked in to be first, but as far as us other 8000 go... without any info we're all just playing a guessing game and a lot of people might end up being dissappointed. Like saying "well, the first 1000 are promised by October so I should get mine probably like the following week or something." That's great and all, but not EVERYBODY will get theirs the first week after the 1000. Therefore, once production on the 1000 starts they need to communicate where people stand in the pecking order and give us estimated dates so we're not all instantly expecting our cars as soon as number 1K rolls off the line.
 

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dori-san said:
Therefore, once production on the 1000 starts they need to communicate where people stand in the pecking order and give us estimated dates so we're not all instantly expecting our cars as soon as number 1K rolls off the line.
I think we can safely bet that this will not happen...the first 1k is getting great treatment, but not sure this will happen after that...more that likely that production will be much more of a function of whats most efficient for GM, as opposed to where you stand in line..

"Hey No cuts!!!!!" :lol:

maybe I am just a pessimist though :skep:
 

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dori-san said:
Well the First 1000 are, as everyone knows, going to be first.

This is why estimates are good. We all know the first 1000 are locked in to be first, but as far as us other 8000 go... without any info we're all just playing a guessing game and a lot of people might end up being dissappointed. Like saying "well, the first 1000 are promised by October so I should get mine probably like the following week or something." That's great and all, but not EVERYBODY will get theirs the first week after the 1000. Therefore, once production on the 1000 starts they need to communicate where people stand in the pecking order and give us estimated dates so we're not all instantly expecting our cars as soon as number 1K rolls off the line.
Well, the two make-up groups (2 years free maintenance and Zero Zippers) will be immediately after the First 1000.

As for the remainder of the orders, they would fall in the regular dealer allocations (First, Second, or later, depending on your standing at your dealership). The problem with GM providing information on these orders would be that they are not visible to GM until they are coded 3000 (pulled for production), and this is done based on several factors, such as dealer priority, any production constraints, etc. At this time, there probably aren't a lot of regular allocation orders (in the total 8,000) pulled for production/coded 3000 yet.

Hopefully by the time the First 1000 and the two make up groups are completed, GM will have stabilized their initial production rate enough that the rest of the codes (for things like Target Production Week) will be visible in the dealer's computers for the regular allocation orders. Then people will be able to check with their dealer for any changes or updates on how far their order has progressed in the process.

I think once we see the production ramped up to the projected rate, more of this information will be available, but you will need to get it from your dealer, not GM HQ.
 

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dori-san said:
But what I'm curious about is wether or not there is going to be any order to how the rest of them are done and what determines this order? Like say, if Joe Schmoe puts down his thousand tomorrow and I put my thousand down last month; certainly I should get my car before him right? Another way to look at it is since I put in my deposit almost 2 months after the big Apprentice rush, I would expect not to get my car the very first week after the last of the 1K are delivered... but could I?
I think that's a definitely a possibility. I'm not saying it's likely, but as far as GM is concerned, their production order will depend on the order they decide to give dealers cars and/or building cars in convenient groups based on options and such. If they decide to pull high a volume dealer's #1 allocation order first, it may override a small dealer's only allocation order even if the small dealer's order was in first. An individual dealer's orders should stay in a specific order, but the order they were placed nationwide is not necessarily of any importance. And limited options may also affect the order even within a particular dealer's waitlist. That's certainly their prerogative and they have even stated that the first 1000 will not be produced based on time-stamp or place in line. That's why I really think they should be giving us some kind of ballpark idea of how far down the list our order falls. I know they can't do it until the order is picked up, but at least let people know at that point where they are in the queue. Otherwise a lot of people are going to be sitting in anticipation for months. If they know their order is near the end, they can relax for a while and not be sitting on the edge of their seat every day waiting to get the call. It's not bad news that people can't handle ... it's the lack of information.
 

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Dengel, I forgot about the other groups. Good call there.

But what I'm gathering from what you guys have just said is that I may actually get my car sooner than I think. I say that because I'm sure I've read somewhere that certain dealerships sold completely out of their first allocation with people trying to get on the EOP, and many dealers have sold out since then. So for example, if someone went to their dealer (who's allocation was half gone after day 1) and plopped down their money on 4/28 and they were, say... 9 of 15 in the allocation and I put my money down on 6/2 but I'm 3 of 11; I would technically be closer in the queue to get my car than the guy that ordered a month before? Since I'm #3 in line (at my dealer) and he is #9 (at his)? I guess that makes sence, but in a weird sort of way.
 

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dori-san said:
Dengel, I forgot about the other groups. Good call there.

But what I'm gathering from what you guys have just said is that I may actually get my car sooner than I think. I say that because I'm sure I've read somewhere that certain dealerships sold completely out of their first allocation with people trying to get on the EOP, and many dealers have sold out since then. So for example, if someone went to their dealer (who's allocation was half gone after day 1) and plopped down their money on 4/28 and they were, say... 9 of 15 in the allocation and I put my money down on 6/2 but I'm 3 of 11; I would technically be closer in the queue to get my car than the guy that ordered a month before? Since I'm #3 in line (at my dealer) and he is #9 (at his)? I guess that makes sence, but in a weird sort of way.

You've got the right idea, dori.
If I were you, I would keep a positive attitude. As #3 out of 11 at your dealer, you have a good chance of having your car built during the first month of regular production (barring any additional production constraints), and that may be as early as late August or early September. ;)

I would say for all the regular allocation orders, remain patient as the First 1000 are built, and then get back in touch with your dealer to see if he has any more detailed info on when his various allocation cars are expected to be produced. If your dealer has 11 cars in the first allocation, one way to get a good idea of when your car will be made would be for your dealer to tell you when the other cars in front of you are pulled for production, scheduled, etc. :)
 

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dengel said:
...and that may be as early as late August or early September. ;)
Oh man! I know you aren't the one with the answers but I certainly hope you're right! That's when I definitely want it by and that's what I'm hoping for! It certainly would be the happiest birthday of my life! PLEASE GM, PLEASE LISTEN TO ME!!! September 15th! Just get it to me by then!!! Oh it would be the best day of my life!
 
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