Indiana Transmission Plant I Works 10 Million “Safe” Hours
FCA US Indiana Transmission Plant I Works 10 Million “Safe” Hours
Nearly 2,700 employees worked three years without a lost time injury
Milestone marks rare achievement in manufacturing industry
Kokomo, Ind., plant has built more than 500,000 nine-speed transmissions since May 2013
April 1, 2015 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -
Indiana Transmission Plant I (ITPI) employees have achieved something few in the manufacturing industry can claim – 10,000,000 hours, or a span of more than three years, without a lost time injury.
To achieve this milestone, the nearly 2,700 employees – including about 1,100 new hires – at the FCA US facility in Kokomo, Ind., have made safety a priority. With a commitment driven by plant management and the UAW, employees proactively addressed potential hazards, improved the working conditions and focused on training to eliminate work-related injuries or illnesses that cause time from work beyond the day or shift when the incident occurred.
“This is something that’s never been done before,” said Brian Harlow, Vice President – Manufacturing, FCA North America, during a special employee town hall in March. “The most important asset of any company is the people who perform the work. This record is a result of the commitment of the ITPI team to doing the right thing to help control and eliminate safety hazards identified in the workplace. It is this teamwork that helped achieve the seemingly impossible.”
The focus on World Class Manufacturing (WCM), which includes safety as one of its 10 foundational principles, has been a main contributor to achieving the milestone. World Class Manufacturing is a methodology that focuses on reducing waste, increasing productivity, and improving quality and safety in a systematic and organized way. WCM engages the workforce to provide and implement suggestions on how to improve their jobs and their plants. WCM was first implemented by Fiat in 2006 and introduced to Chrysler Group as part of the alliance between the two companies in June 2009.
Through the implementation of WCM and employee suggestions, ITPI identified more than 5,000 opportunities to drive a culture of safety by identifying potential safety hazards and behaviors, and implementing corrective actions. This included conducting ergonomic assessments to analyze each job for hazards and delivery of parts to the “golden zone,” the area immediately in front of the operator, as well as designing machines with “dry floor guarding” to eliminate fluids from escaping from the equipment and creating a slip hazard.
“Safety is a mindset,” said Jeremy Keating, ITPI Plant Manager. “Increasing productivity, as we have done over the past few years, while emphasizing safety requires everyone to remain committed to safety by proactively improving the process and work conditions. It is our job to make sure every employee returns home safely at the end of each day.
“ITPI is now a recognized benchmark in safety throughout the FCA network,” said Keating. “In fact, several of our best practices in safety have been implemented by other facilities in the Company.”
Jerry Price, Vice President–UAW Local 685, praised employees for “looking out for one another.”
“We have to give credit to all the employees here,” said Price. “About 40 percent of the workforce is new. Our senior employees have served as coaches, and our younger employees have taken the knowledge to heart, adopting safety into everything we do.”
ITPI began production in 1998. In addition to building the six-speed transmission, ITPI was the first facility to build the fuel efficient nine-speed transmission found in the Jeep Cherokee. Since production began in May 2013, the plant has built more than 500,000 of the all-new transmission.
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