The Suzzara plant had to master an extraordinary task last year: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it had to close for 2 months from March 2020, which brought some new challenges. True to the motto "mastering the unpredictable", this time was used wisely. New training concepts were developed during this phase, from which employees continue to benefit today. A training station for eye-hand coordination in the peripheral field of vision is just one of many examples. In this context, the evaluation team particularly liked the thematic training and meeting rooms, in which alternative approaches were explored. In the "business theatre", for example, safety-relevant situations were re-enacted by employees in order to raise awareness of hidden risks.
The recruitment and training program that has been set up will also help in the training of more than 350 new employees planned for October 2021, who will help to achieve the highest daily production figures in the plant's history. With 5 series and over 16,000 item numbers, the company faces a high level of product complexity.
The plant has been working with World Class Manufacturing (WCM), the FCA Group's production system, since 2007. The improvement culture is exemplified by the management level and is thus carried into the workforce. This has led to a competition for the most efficient and highest number of optimizations. Each employee can submit suggestions for improvement at one of the many, extremely user-friendly InfoPoints. After a short review period, suitable suggestions are found in the "Kaizen Web" and are implemented by a team according to a defined procedure. The skills learned by the employees during the Kaizen process are stored on the respective profile. This allows the selection of the right employees with the required skills for each project, which contributes to a quick and successful implementation. Additional employees from assembly have been trained as WCM experts and dedicate the majority of their time to the implementation of Kaizens. In this way, all employees up to the worker level are involved in the further development of the company, which noticeably strengthens cohesion and the corporate culture.
The plant is also breaking new ground in the area of digitalization. For example, data base and intelligent camera inspection systems are increasingly being used to improve quality and avoid downtime. This example also shows that at Suzzara, lean and digitization are not separate worlds, but rather the common path to continuous further development.
For this reason, too, the jury believes that the Suzzara plant is well equipped for the future and is convinced that its dedicated team will continue to make consistent use of the opportunities offered by “Lean&Digital”.