Illinois Assembly Plant Achieves World-Class Manufacturing Status

Noria news wires

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) recently announced that its assembly plant in Belvidere, Illinois, has been awarded silver status for its efforts in implementing world-class manufacturing (WCM). The facility becomes the company’s 10th North American manufacturing location to achieve the silver milestone and the first plant in 2020.

The Belvidere facility earned silver status following a three-day audit during which the plant received a minimum of 60 points in 10 technical and 10 managerial pillars, demonstrating WCM know-how and competence through employee-conducted pillar presentations and a review of projects that have been expanded across the shop floor.

“Achieving silver status is a major accomplishment for all the men and women who work at Belvidere Assembly, and I congratulate them on this milestone,” said Jorge Lares, head of manufacturing for FCA North America. “The achievement of WCM award levels recognizes the long-term commitment of our workforce in fostering a culture of continuous improvement that consistently places Belvidere at the top of the list for quality in North America.”

First implemented by Fiat in 2006 and introduced to Chrysler Group as part of the alliance between the two companies in June 2009, WCM is a structured and rigorous production system designed to make plants more flexible and competitive by eliminating waste and losses, improving safety and quality, and increasing productivity in a systematic and organized way. WCM principles are applied to all aspects of the plant organization, from quality to maintenance, operations to logistics, with the goal of continuous improvement.

Award levels are confirmed through independent audits. During an audit, zero to five points are scored 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 highly qualified people, motivation of operators and commitment of the organization. A score of 85 would indicate a world-class level.

Silver is awarded to plants that have taken a preventive approach to implementing the WCM methodology throughout the facility. In addition to the Belvidere plant, nine other North American facilities hold a silver designation.

Built in 1964, the Belvidere plant has produced a variety of models over the years, from the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Plymouth brands. The facility currently employs more than 3,800 people working two shifts.

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