Two Chrysler factories achieve highest rank under Fiat’s World Class Manufacturing system

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 10, 2012

Fiat S.p.A.'s World Class Manufacturing system gave the highest rank to date of any of Chrysler’s factories in North America to the Windsor Assembly Plant in Canada and its Dundee Engine Plant (formerly the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance) in Michigan. They each got a score higher than 50, the minimum score to earn a bronze status.

The Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans in Ontario are built at the Windsor Assembly Plant. These rankings calculate the efficiency of the plants, which are assigned an audited two-digit score. To get a bronze rank, the plant has to get a score of 50 or above. Silver is 60; gold is 70; and 85 is considered world-class. To date, no plant in the U.S. has ever received a silver status or anything above that.

Chrysler’s two plants earned the bronze status in slightly more than half the time it took Fiat’s top-performing European plants. However, those factories had developed the award-winning system. Chrysler started to use Fiat's much-awarded manufacturing system soon after exiting bankruptcy in 2009 under an alliance with Fiat.

The system is based on the principle of removing waste of any sort, says Autonews. It relies on the input of line workers to recommend ways to improve their jobs and their plants. Chrysler officials said that its workers have made over 200,000 suggestions to improve their plants, majority of which were implemented this year.

There is a post on Allpar.com (a site about Chrysler events) by a Windsor Assembly plant worker who shared that Chrysler had savings of $43 million in costs at the plant in 2011 alone because of its workers’ suggestions. The World Class Manufacturing system depends on regular audits to indicate a plant's efficiency.

Included in these audits are plant output, worker and plant safety, product quality, plant waste and job interactions. At an event this year, Scott Garberding, Chrysler's head of manufacturing, was quoted to have said that building skills is the “only way” to become better and that this plant is where these skills are improved.

Topics: chrysler, fiat, factory

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