Scholarship Fund Created to Honor Jim Harbour

Scholarship Fund Created to Honor Jim Harbour

by Dianna Brodine

Plastics Business

On Sept. 6, 2014, Jim Harbour passed away. Harbour was an automotive industry pioneer, well-known for his influence on and analysis of manufacturing. In the plastics processing industry, many of us work with his daughter, Laurie Harbour of Harbour Results, Inc. Over the years I have known her, Laurie has shared many stories about her dad and his unending passion for improving American manufacturing. We at Plastics Business send her our deepest condolences.

To honor the lifetime of accomplishments of industry pioneer James (Jim) Harbour, the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) has set up a Scholarship Fund on his behalf to promote American manufacturing, while providing young adults with educational assistance. For those wishing to provide a donation to the AMBA Scholarship Fund, please make checks payable to the AMBA Scholarship Fund with verbiage in the check memo field written as: “AMBA – Jim Harbour Fund.” To read more about the influence Harbour had on the automobile industry and manufacturing, read this article published by Crain’s Detroit Business. For more information on the scholarship fund, call the AMBA at 847.222.9402.

Obituary provided by the Harbour family:

Automotive industry pioneer and analyst James (Jim) E. Harbour passed away Sept. 6, 2014, at the age of 86, surrounded by his family. As a trailblazer, shrewd businessman, witty friend and loving family man, Jim Harbour will be missed.

When he joined Chrysler in 1957, nobody knew the impact he would have on the automotive and manufacturing industries. A proud veteran of the US Navy, he learned at an early age the importance of discipline and hard work. As Harbour’s career evolved, his love for finance and manufacturing grew. He was a firm believer that manufacturing was the foundation on which this country was built and worked tirelessly to help improve the US auto industry.

In 1980, after working directly for Ford Motor and Chrysler Corporation for nearly 30 years, Jim Harbour formed Harbour and Associates, Inc., a consulting firm that assisted manufacturing companies in improving their overall competitiveness. It was here where he led his team to develop The Harbour Report, a study of automaker manufacturing performance, which later became known as the bible of manufacturing labor efficiency for the automotive industry. Jim Harbour and The Harbour Report can be credited with driving massive improvements in automotive manufacturing efficiency and performance across the globe and is still impactful today.

Jim Harbour retired as head of Harbour and Associates in 1999 and continued to analyze and consult in the automotive industry. In 2006, in conjunction with his daughter Laurie Harbour, president and CEO of Harbour Results, Inc., he released a landmark study. Automotive Competitive Challenge: Going Beyond Lean documented the structural challenges and key issues impacting the profitability gap between the Detroit and Asian OEMs at that time. Again, he forced change within the industry. In 2009, Harbour authored Factory Man, which detailed how he discovered Toyota’s quality and productivity methods and helped the US auto industry became competitive. Most recently, he was an active board member for Harbour Results, Inc.

In addition to having a profound impact on the automotive and manufacturing industries, Harbour was a devoted family man. He was married to his wife, Dolores, for 60 years before she passed away in 2012. Together, they raised eight children, all of whom followed in their father’s footsteps as highly educated, hard-working professionals in all areas. He also is survived by 10 grandchildren and three great grandchildren with whom he often shared his knowledge and wisdom.