ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich., April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The FANUC Group of Companies has been named by General Motors (NYSE: GM) as a worldwide Supplier of the Year for 1997.  The FANUC Group of Companies includes FANUC LTD of Oshino-mura, Japan, and its subsidiaries -- FANUC Robotics Europe S.A., headquartered in Echternach, Luxembourg, and FANUC Robotics North America, Inc., headquartered in Rochester Hills, Mich.  FANUC received the GM Supplier of the Year Award from General Motors Worldwide Purchasing at an international ceremony on Saturday, April 25, in Mexico City.  The award was accepted on behalf of the company by Eric Mittelstadt, chairman and chief executive officer of FANUC Robotics North America, and Pete Planchock, president and chief executive officer, FANUC Robotics Europe.  The GM Supplier of the Year awards began in Germany more than 20 years ago and were expanded to all of GM Europe in 1989, becoming an international award in 1992.  During the 1997 calendar year, teams of purchasing, quality, engineering and manufacturing experts from GM operations around the world reviewed supplier performance in order to identify those companies that exceeded specific performance standards in the areas of quality, service and price.  FANUC was among 182 recipients selected for the award from a GM supplier base of more than 30,000 companies.  "FANUC demonstrated throughout 1997 that it is among the 'Best of the Best' suppliers for robots and robotic systems," said Harold R. Kutner, GM's vice president for Worldwide Purchasing and North American Production Control & Logistics.  "FANUC is truly globally competitive and, by virtue of this award, is recognized as a worldwide leader in product development, technology, manufacturing, continuous improvement, value and most importantly, quality."  According to FANUC Robotics' Mittelstadt:  "It is an honor to receive this prestigious award from General Motors -- a customer we have partnered with for many years.  It is fitting that the GM Supplier of the Year award is based on value, service and quality, because these are the characteristics that define  FANUC.  Our unique philosophy of looking at a customer's entire manufacturing process and developing ways to improve total productivity results in more product manufactured in less time at less cost.  This makes us an invaluable resource to the value-minded manufacturing marketplace.  "As the world's leading supplier of robots and robotic systems, we have  worked with more than 4,000 customers to develop innovative, reliable and cost-effective solutions to their manufacturing needs," said Mittelstadt. "With 57,000 robots in service in more than 20 countries around the globe, we have the experience and resources to meet any automation need -- anywhere in the world."  The FANUC Group, the world's leading supplier of industrial robots and robotic systems, has facilities in 24 countries around the world, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom and throughout the United States.   SOURCE  FANUC Robotics /CONTACT:  Lee Ann Welsh, Corporate Communications of FANUC Robotics, 248-377-7257, or  (GM)  CO:  FANUC Robotics; General Motors Corporation ST:  Michigan IN:  AUT SU: 
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