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demonstrated a willingness to take on and succeed with tough
assignments throughout his career," said G. Richard Wagoner
Jr., president and CEO of General Motors. "He has unlimited
energy and was a leader in developing a truly global organiza-
But Kutner was also reputed to be a tough customer for
suppliers. And now Covisint needs those suppliers in order to
survive. Even his counterpart at DaimlerChrysler recognizes
that fact. Said Gary Valade of DaimlerChrysler's global pro-
curement and supply, "If Kutner has a reputation of being
tough, it's more a result of believing in his goals and passion-
ately going after them than any shred of being mean-spirited."
Kutner shrugs off the criticism. "These are the days of e-com-
merce and connected economies," he said. "The reality is that
the business model today is different than it was five or 10
years ago, and what the industry can and should look like in
2008 will be totally different from now
"It took the first industrial cycle 100 years to get things
moving. Now, industrial cycles run in periods of five to eight
years. It is all about speed. And Covisint offers a method of
connecting up with customers, suppliers and manufacturers.
The speed of decision making is the way to run this business."
"The vision is really kind of simplistic," he added.
It follows the model set by GM to help its suppliers become
more competitive. "The vision is more than just procure-
ment," Kutner said."We procure together. We go to the mar-
ketplace together. The result is that the consumer cost is lower
and the manufacturer still makes more profit.
"We're dealing in an era where the informed customer is
buying over the Net. It provides a form of instant gratification
He said the automotive business as it now functions is too
slow. "Our real vision is immediate communication: to con-
nect the buyer, seller and suppliers."
Covisint expects to be "cash flow" positive in the fourth
quarter of 2002 — a remarkable feat since it is only in its sec-
ond year of generating revenue.
Covisint will soon announce the common adoption of cer-
tain Covisint products by the auto industry's original equip-
ment manufacyrers (OEMs). "The common adoption will
make it easier for suppliers to do business electronically
because they'll be able to use the same product for different
KUTNER on page 66
brings a global
perspective to the