The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Mack Avenue engine plant and Toledo machining plant have been awarded bronze status for their efforts in implementing world-class manufacturing (WCM). They become the 18th and 19th North American facilities to reach the milestone award and bring to six the number of plants that have been designated bronze in 2016.

In reaching bronze status, the Detroit-based engine plant and suburban Toledo, Ohio, component plant earned a minimum of 50 points in 10 technical and 10 managerial pillars following two-day independent audits. Through employee-conducted pillar presentations and a review of projects implemented across the shop floor, the plants demonstrated clear WCM know-how and competence. The designation recognizes the long-term dedication of the workforce to making significant changes that can secure the future of a facility.

"The road to bronze for both of these facilities has had its challenges, but their tireless effort and resilient commitment to WCM has now been recognized and duly rewarded," said Brian Harlow, vice president of manufacturing for FCA North America. "Using the WCM methodology, our employees are suggesting process improvements to help eliminate waste, increase productivity and improve quality and safety, which are ultimately making our facilities more efficient."

WCM, which was first implemented by Fiat in 2006 and introduced to Chrysler Group as part of the alliance between the two companies in 2009, is a methodology that engages the workforce to provide and implement suggestions on how to improve their jobs and their plants, promoting a strong sense of ownership. Plants awarded for their efforts also have a role in accelerating the implementation of WCM throughout the organization as coaches and mentors.

During an audit, zero to five points are awarded for each of the 10 technical pillars, which include safety, workplace organization, logistics and the environment, as well as for each of the 10 managerial pillars, such as management commitment, clarity of objectives, allocation of people, motivation of operators and commitment of the organization. A score of 85 indicates world class.

The 1.4-million-square-foot Mack Avenue engine plant was purchased in 1953 by Chrysler and converted to a stamping plant in 1974. In 1992, the plant was the production home of the Dodge Viper, which moved to the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in 1995. Mack Engine began producing engines in 1998. In 2012, the company announced that it would invest $198 million and add up to 250 new jobs at the plant to produce the Pentastar (V-6) engine. Nearly 750 employees currently build three versions of the Pentastar engine: the 3.0-liter, 3.2-liter and 3.6-liter.

The Toledo Machining plant started production in 1966. Since 2011, the company has invested nearly $100 million in the plant for the production of steering columns and torque converters for eight- and nine-speed transmissions. The plant, which employs more than 1,000 people, also manufactures torque converters for four- and six-speed transmissions.

For more information, visit www.fcanorthamerica.com.