GM South Africa recently adopted a specialised computer-aided design (CAD) system - called Unigraphics and used by GM operations worldwide - for improved design quality.

GM South Africa recently adopted a specialised computer-aided design (CAD) system - called Unigraphics and used by GM operations worldwide - for improved design quality.

The highly specialised multi-million dollar software application is also used to design Boeing aircraft and other vehicles.

Evan Dold, director of procurement and engineering at GMSA, said the manufacturer was the first to adopt the system in the country after purchasing software for five CAD designers.

"We have now spent over half a million rand on licence fees and training," Dold said. "With the integration into GM we now have access to GM's product design data from source plants around the globe. These resources will enable us to significantly improve our design capability.

The company is also training people from within the organisation, particularly from previously disadvantaged groups, to effectively use the package.

Dold said: "Given the scarcity of Unigraphics skills in the country, we are spending thousands on training and developing our own people."

To highlight this, 15 employees were recently sent on specialist driving courses where they tested vehicles in several challenging exercises.

This programme was run in conjunction with GMSA's e-Learning initiative launched in September this year. About 900 courses were made available to employees via an e-Learning portal. Subjects include personal computer skills, business and leadership courses and are offered at no cost to the employees.