All summer, depending on the week, workers have been reporting either to the General Motors Shreveport, La., plant that assembles Chevrolet S10 and GMC Sonoma pickups or to a different GM Shreveport plant that assembles Colorado and Canyon trucks.
Every Monday, the same 2,500 employees arrive at one plant or the other, take up different jobs, sometimes on different shifts, and build different vehicles following two sets of procedures.
To the outside world, it's all one big manufacturing complex referred to simply as Shreveport. But what is going on inside the 22-year-old operation represents the splitting of two worlds - something that is happening elsewhere in GM.
Like a cell dividing, GM is tearing itself away from a manufacturing method that has served it well for decades.
Worldwide, it is embracing a new system that it hopes will make it more competitive, cost-efficient and flexible in a business that seems increasingly clouded with uncertainties.
Shreveport embodies that makeover. Shreveport, opened in 1981, was a mass-production pickup factory in the standard operating style of GM. Engines arrived from one source, frames from another.
Key components came from plants across the Midwest. Steel body panels, doors and gates came from other centralized GM stamping plants hundreds of miles away. The Louisiana plant brought them together into a finished product.
But over the past three years, Shreveport has been preparing for a different production arrangement.
It's a new plant, for all practical purposes. GM spent $700 million - virtually the cost of a greenfield auto plant - converting the operation into one of GM's Global Manufacturing System plants.
The Global Manufacturing System is the codified set of operating rules that GM drafted after studying mostly Japanese-owned auto plants around the world for the past two decades.
In its most basic description, the system is a version of Toyota Motor Corp.'s rulebook, complete with Toyota-style line-stopping emergency cords, called andons, and a preference for nearby component production and small inventories.