Improving manufacturing efficiencies

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Improving manufacturing efficiencies

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Ford’s vehicle production system has helped to make the brand’s plants in Silverton and Struandale among the most efficient, according to Ockert Berry, vice-president for operations at the Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

“Ten years ago it took 60 hours to build a vehicle, whereas we now make much more complex models in Silverton in only 27 hours per unit on average,” he says.

The Ford Production System (FPS) – originally developed in 2006/7 – was implemented in South Africa in 2008 and is continually being re ned. It focuses on value-added processes and standardisation as a means of improving productivity and quality levels, using a SQDCPME scorecard which rates safety, quality, delivery, cost, people, maintenance and environment.

Key elements include effective work groups, zero waste, zero defects, aligning global capacity with global market demand, optimising production throughput and using total cost to drive performance.

“FPS is a structured system that results in a structured day for each team member who, if they stick to the rules, can deliver daily outputs that are in line with the requirements for each aspect of the scorecard,” Berry says.

Each employee on a Ford production line anywhere in the world has a worksheet which spells out how and why he or she needs to perform certain operations, while each operation has checks and balances to ensure it is carried out correctly.

Every operator on the assembly line is trained to be able to carry out four different operations ef ciently so they can stand in for absent team members when necessary. This multi-skilling also forms part of the empowerment process embodied in the FPS.

Implementation of the programme has resulted in signi cant improvements in productivity and quality and the manufacturing operation in Silverton is now rated as one of the best in the Ford world.

Originally it targeted Ford’s Thailand operation as a benchmark, but now the Silverton factory is rated higher in most measurables than its original benchmark in Asia, says Berry.

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