Some US automotive industry executives fear that their firms are vulnerable to security failure and are not prepared to address it, a KPMG LLP survey taken at the Society of Automotive Engineers#; recent Southern Automotive Manufacturing Conference shows.

Only 30% of the 34 executives surveyed at the conference, held on April 9 in Greenville, South Carolina, were confident that their manufacturing operations were secure, and 35% said that their firms were prepared to handle emergencies.

In addition, 56% of the respondents said their firms had a plan for catastrophic failure, 18% said they didn#;t have a plan and 26% weren#;t aware that one existed at their firms.

Additional survey findings found that 76% of the firms are participating in digital exchanges, with the key area of use identified as collaborative engineering, followed closely by procurement.

In terms of what performance measurements have realised the greatest quality improvements, they said information technology programmes, followed by Balanced Scorecard and Six Sigma.

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When asked what key initiatives manufacturing managers and engineers need to focus more attention on, they felt, in order of priority, the standardisation and simplicity of component design, followed by teamwork and hands on problem solving, and improved quality.