Dear Navistar Stakeholder,
Navistar aspires to be the leading truck and bus company in the U.S. We manufacture commercial trucks, buses, defense vehicles and engines for customers across the country and the world. We can’t build our vehicles without the more than 12,300 dedicated employees who work hard to deliver world-class products and services every day in our plants, parts distribution centers and corporate offices.
Not long ago, we were struggling in the market due to a failed engine strategy. We know that there are no small mistakes in the trucking industry and there is no question that this set us back. Thanks in large part to the commitment of our employees and partnership with the United Automobile Workers (UAW), we accomplished a successful turnaround and became profitable again for the full year in 2017 for the first time since 2011.
But we’re not yet where we need to be. We are still last in terms of overall market share compared to our competitors. As we go through labor negotiations with the UAW this fall, Navistar’s goal is to create a contract that will help us increase competitiveness, gain back market share and keep jobs in the U.S.
Manufacturing in the U.S. is evolving, and Navistar also needs to evolve to meet our customer’s demands, be competitive in our industry and stay current with other manufacturers including those in the automobile industry. We expect topics such as lean implementation and product allocation to be part of our discussions with the UAW. We need the ability to fully implement efficient technologies, lean principles and ergonomic solutions to eliminate waste – wasted time, wasted material and wasted money – to improve safety and quality. The more effective we make production, the more competitive we will be with low labor cost countries.
Over the last five years, Navistar has made progress with lean operating principles. We’ve invested millions of dollars in our plants and parts distribution centers on items such as new Andon systems, simulated work environments and standardization of material delivery. But we can’t fall behind, and we can’t have major barriers to progress, especially as the transportation industry moves toward emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles and electrification.
Though significant for Navistar, the changes needed in this year’s UAW contract are not unprecedented. Other original equipment manufacturers have successfully been operating under lean principles for years and we need the ability to full implement those standards as well.
We will make every effort to achieve a competitive agreement for the 1,800 employees at our UAW-represented facilities affected by this contract.
Senior Vice President, Global Manufacturing