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Chrysler Trains for Excellence

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“World Class Manufacturing” is more than a phrase at Chrysler Corp., said Mario Pino, vice president of Vehicle Assembly Operations and World Class Manufacturing for the company, as they have made a fundamental commitment to creating a superior manufacturing environment largely through a variant on JIT—no, not “Just In Time” as related to parts availability, but as in “Just In Training,” or making sure that Chrysler workers have a comprehensive understanding of what they need to know in order to accomplish their jobs safely, efficiently, and productively.

So, how do you know what they need to know? Simple. You analyze their understanding via a radar chart, with a scale of 1 (knows nothing) to 5 (knows enough to be a trainer). A determination of what is known is made and overlaid with what needs to be known. That way, the training can be specifically tailored to the person in question.

They have established the “WCM Academy” in Warren, MI, which has recently undergone an expansion, bringing the total size to 40,000-ft2. The facility has been operating since 2012. They run 34 classes at the facility, and Pino said, during a presentation at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars (cargroup.org), that the classes consist of 30% classroom time and 70% hands-on. They use standardized, certified trainers to conduct the classes. People from throughout the Chrysler manufacturing organization participate in the classes that have proven to be so successful (Pino said that through the implemen-tation of World Class Manufacturing, the company has saved over $1-billion since 2009) that they’ll be opening a satellite academy in Mexico and have developed a trailer-based unit that will travel from site to site.

Pino explained that not everyone is keen on the training. They’ve calculated that overall, there are 40% who consider themselves “prisoners” who have to participate; 35% are “tourists,” who have a wait-and-see attitude; 5% are antagonists, who are counterproductive; and 20% are learners. So by keeping the last and removing the rest, they are able to conduct better training programs.

One metric of how well they are doing: they have had more than 365,000 suggestions, of which some 70% have been deployed.—GSV