“It’ll let us manage the increased data over the next five years,” said Ralph Szygenda, GM’s chief information officer. The pact will increase GM’s productivity, he said. GM employees eventually will have the same telecommunications tools no matter where they are in the world, including common conferencing and voice-mail abilities. Because of the network, GM officials expect the quality to be the same in other countries as it is at Detroit headquarters. The contract is just a small portion of AT&T’s revenue, which amounted to $63.1 billion last year. But AT&T officials hope the experience will help generate more business as other companies recognize the need to electronically link global operations, said Ron Spears, executive vice president of AT&T’s global business sales. “Many are starting to follow the path of recognizing the need to globalize business practices,” he said. Under the contract, AT&T also will manage all of GM’s telecommunications suppliers around the world, making sure that communications are standardized. DETROIT – Five years ago, General Motors Corp.’s worldwide telecommunications system was a laggard in the company’s fledgling effort to globalize vehicle design, engineering and manufacturing. It took at least an hour for an engineer in Europe to send a large computerized design file to a manufacturing plant overseas. It took another hour for the plant to send the file back with any changes. Now, as the company moves toward savings billions of dollars by building more models in more places off the same underpinnings, GM and AT&T Inc. have a network in place that allows engineers and plant officials worldwide to simultaneously view the same data simultaneously and discuss it. On Wednesday, GM gave AT&T even more business, awarding a five-year, $1 billion global networking contract that will prepare the world’s largest automaker for whatever electronic breakthroughs lie ahead. The pact renews an earlier GM contract with AT&T, but company officials would not disclose the value of that agreement. Kent Custer, a telecommunications-industry analyst with A.G. Edwards & Sons in St. Louis, said the new deal is the biggest of its type for AT&T so far. For GM, he said such technology can achieve productivity gains. “There’s a lot of opportunity for management to increase productivity and reduce costs by doing deals with this,” Custer said. AT&T shares fell 15 cents, or 0.4 percent, to close Wednesday at $37.21 on the New York Stock Exchange. GM shares fell 58 cents, or 1.6 percent, to close at $35.37 on the NYSE.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Then there was the Brooklyn-born Torre, the new manager, talking about Sandy Koufax, Carl Furillo, Willie Davis, Don Sutton, Don Zimmer and other Dodgers of yesterday. The McCourt mantra is reconnecting with the tradition of the team. Here, finally, they have hired someone who is up to and understands the task. Plus, he’s won four World Series rings. Except. Except? Except Torre is overrated. Overrated? Definitely. As he himself knows better than anyone, he does not walk on water. He’s not going to wave a fungo bat and suddenly the Dodgers will find themselves in the World Series. The young players need to grow. The roster should be tweaked. They had everything, short of drums and trumpets. The press conference to introduce Joe Torre was held in center field of Dodger Stadium. It was an overcast Monday morning. Out of the mist from the Dodgers dugout came Torre, his wife, Ali, Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt, Vin Scully, the voice of the team, and former manager Tom Lasorda. They were striding with such purpose. It was the perfect photo op. Torre’s thoughts on how baseball should be played are strikingly similar to those of Grady Little, who appears to have been pushed out as manager. Torre and Little are the same person, except Torre got to manage and win with the Yankees. To some, that’s the bad news. Little’s down-home personality made them nervous. The good news is, those rings Torre has give him an edge. Players listen to known winners. Winning prompts self-confidence. Torre replacing Little is Phil Jackson replacing Del Harris, a solid coach who did not get it done with the Lakers. Torre was the right man at the right time when he arrived at Yankee Stadium. It may be a repeat performance with the Dodgers. Understand, the overrated observation is based on his $4.5 million annual salary and the view he has special knowledge or magic. This bothers him. Not the salary. No complaints there. Just what people perceive him to be, which, he volunteered makes him very uncomfortable. The little self portrait is an indication his feet remain on the ground. This is a solid, old-school baseball man who is a solid person. Players like to play for Torre because he’s steady, because he recognizes the long, hot baseball summer is a marathon. No doubt he cringes when it is said he brings credibility to the Dodgers. As if this franchise needs to hire a high-profile manager to gain credibility. Or buzz. Or glitz. A guy from Brooklyn knows that’s a myth and that the real fans, just like the fans where he grew up, are about winning. Celebrity comes with success here, as Pete Carroll, Jim Harrick, John Wooden, John McKay and Dodgers managers named Walt Alston and Lasorda have demonstrated over the years. Torre gets it. He became a media darling in New York because he managed the Yankees when they took off on a special run and because New York loves to love its heroes. Some say he is calculating. This side was not seen during more than three hours of general press conference, stand-up one-on-ones with radio and TV talkers and a sit-down with a dozen or so reporters who regularly cover the team, plus a couple of visitors from New York. If it is there, it means he is savvy and seeks to be in control. A knock in years gone by was he got in his golf, arrived late at the park and departed in a hurry following games. A more experienced Torre talks about the work it takes to get the job done. In the past, managers hired their buddies to be their coaches. Torre wants qualified coaches he hopes will become his friends. A case in point is Don Mattingly, hired as a Yankees coach by owner George Steinbrenner. Torre came to value Mattingly so much, he asked him to come with him to the Dodgers. Torre’s understanding of the dynamics of his staff, of the clubhouse and of how teams work is seen in him bringing Larry Bowa from New York to be his third base coach. Torre is quiet in the Alston mode. Bowa is an in-your-face type who will not be shy with, say, outfielders who repeatedly miss the cutoff man or do not hustle on the bases. This is more important to the real fans than a photo op. Another positive sign came when Torre was asked who influenced his approach as a manager. He talked about Red Schoendienst. If you do not know the name, Schoendienst was a player’s player who became a player’s manager. You will not find a better role model. For those looking for cosmic signs, the sun came out on this overcast morning when it was Torre’s time to speak. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!