Chrysler's Windsor plant 1st in N.A. to earn World Class Manufacturing silver status

Chrysler's Windsor, Ontario, assembly plant, which will be overhauled this year to build the next generation of the Chrysler Town & Country minivan, is the company's best performing and most productive factory in North America.

Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
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DETROIT -- Chrysler Group’s Windsor, Ontario, assembly plant has become the first North American plant to achieve silver status under the automaker’s World Class Manufacturing system, Chrysler said today.

That means the plant, which will be overhauled this year to build the next generation of the Chrysler Town & Country minivan, is Chrysler’s best performing and most productive plant on the continent.

World Class Manufacturing, introduced by Fiat when it took control of Chrysler in 2009, aims to reduce waste and injuries while improving quality and efficiency. It uses 10 managerial and 10 technical pillars to measure each job and action in a plant, and rates the plant’s performance on a 100-point scale. Fiat and Chrysler plants worldwide are audited about twice a year.

The Windsor plant is the first in North America to score at least 60, earning silver status. Windsor scored 61 on its most recent audit, Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said.

Three other plants -- Toledo Assembly; Dundee Engine in Dundee, Mich.; and Saltillo Truck Assembly in Mexico -- have earned bronze status by scoring at least 50. On their most recent audits, Toledo and Saltillo scored 58 while Dundee scored 57, Tinson said.

In April 2012, Windsor became Chrysler’s first plant to earn bronze status.

The silver designation comes just weeks after Chrysler withdrew its request for federal and provincial aid in Ontario to overhaul the plant, which employs nearly 4,700. The automaker has said that it will use its own money to invest in Windsor for the next-generation minivan, and would look to other areas to reduce the cost of building vehicles there.

You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at lvellequette@crain.com.


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