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A World Premiere: FCA US Kokomo Casting Plant Becomes First-Ever Casting Facility to Earn World Class Manufacturing Bronze Award

Recognition establishes benchmark for other companies engaging in World Class Manufacturing
Kokomo Casting becomes the 11th FCA North American facility to achieve milestone award
World’s largest die cast facility joins two other FCA US Indiana plants as bronze recipient
Award recognizes improvements in safety, quality and productivity
Achievement comes as plant celebrates 50 years of production

October 16, 2015 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

The FCA US Kokomo Casting Plant (Ind.) has been awarded bronze status for its efforts to improve in World Class Manufacturing (WCM), becoming the first casting facility to earn recognition in this global methodology that is practiced in industries beyond automotive.

As the 11th FCA North American facility to receive bronze status, Kokomo Casting was awarded bronze after a two-day audit in which the plant earned a minimum of 50 points in 10 technical and 10 managerial pillars by demonstrating clear WCM know-how and competence through employee-conducted pillar presentations and a review of projects that have been implemented across the shop floor.

With Kokomo Casting’s award, there are now three Indiana plants in the bronze class. Indiana Transmission II and Kokomo Transmission each received the bronze designation in 2014.

“It is appropriate that this honor comes as Kokomo Casting marks 50 years in operation because it recognizes the commitment of our workforce to building on the plant’s history and creating a global path for future success,” said Brian Harlow, Vice President – Manufacturing, FCA North America. “The Kokomo Casting employees have dedicated themselves to improving safety and quality while operating the world’s largest die cast facility and playing an integral role in our operations around the world.

“WCM continues to be a vital part of this Company’s growth and could not have been achieved without the support of our UAW partners,” said Harlow. “Our hourly employees have demonstrated that they are committed to keeping FCA US competitive with the best manufacturing facilities in the world.”

One of five FCA US Indiana facilities, Kokomo Casting employs nearly 1,300 people who use nearly one million pounds of metal each day to cast aluminum parts for automotive components, transmission and transaxle cases, and engine blocks. The facility is best known for supporting the production of the eight- and nine-speed transmissions that can be found in one of the following vehicles: Jeep® Cherokee, Chrysler 200, Jeep Renegade, Ram ProMaster City, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Durango and Ram 1500. More than a million of each transmission has been assembled and shipped from the nearby Kokomo and Tipton, Ind., manufacturing facilities.

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, promoting a sense of ownership.

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. Not specific to the FCA family, this global methodology is practiced and evaluated in non-automotive industries by companies such as Barilla, Royale Mail, Thermal Ceramics, Elica, Ariston Thermo and Villanova Logistics.

During an audit, zero to five points are awarded for each of the 10 technical pillars, which include safety, workplace organization, logistics and the environment, and for each of the 10 managerial pillars such as management commitment, clarity of objectives, allocation of people, motivation of operators and commitment of the organization. A score of 100 would indicate World Class.

Two WCM certified auditors from FCA – a representative from the Central Staff of the WCM Development Center for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and the Plant Manager of VM Motori in Italy – performed the audits.

In addition to Kokomo Casting, there are eight other facilities that currently hold the WCM bronze designation: Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant (Mex.), Saltillo South Engine Plant (Mex.), Trenton Engine Complex (Mich.), Warren Stamping (Mich.), Indiana Transmission Plant II (Ind.), Kokomo Transmission Plant (Ind.), Toledo (Ohio) Assembly Complex, and Toluca Assembly Plant (Mex.). Windsor Assembly Plant (Ont.) and Dundee Engine Plant (Mich.) received the WCM Silver designation in March 2014 and May 2015, respectively.


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