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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) recently announced that its assembly plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, has been awarded bronze status for its efforts in implementing world-class manufacturing (WCM). It becomes the 24th North American facility to reach the milestone award.
The suburban Detroit truck plant earned bronze after receiving a minimum of 50 points in 10 technical and 10 managerial pillars following a two-day independent audit. The plant demonstrated WCM know-how and competence through employee-conducted pillar presentations and a review of projects implemented across the shop floor. The designation recognizes the long-term commitment of a workforce to making significant changes that can secure the future of a facility.
“The path to achieving this award has been full of twists and turns for the Sterling Heights workforce, but through it all, they have persevered and demonstrated a commitment to ensuring their future through the implementation of WCM,” said Jorge Lares, head of manufacturing for FCA North America. “Reaching bronze confirms their understanding of the WCM methodology and their dedication to implementing best practices that improve the overall quality and safety in the plant. Our Sterling Heights workforce is to be commended for embracing WCM as a way of life.”
First implemented by Fiat in 2006 and introduced to the Chrysler Group as part of the alliance between the two companies in June 2009, WCM is a methodology that engages employees 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 would indicate world class.
Currently, 10 North American plants hold a silver designation, having been elevated from bronze after receiving a minimum of 60 points during an audit. Silver is awarded to plants that have taken a preventive approach to implementing the WCM methodology throughout the facility. In addition to the Sterling Heights plant, 13 other facilities hold the WCM bronze designation.
Built in 1953 as a jet-engine plant and operated by the U.S. Army as the Michigan Ordinance Missile Plant, the Sterling Heights facility was converted to an automobile plant in 1980 by Volkswagen and purchased by Chrysler in 1983. The plant employs nearly 7,800 people, with three crews working four 10-hour days on two shifts for 120 production hours per week.
For more information, visit www.fcagroup.com.