7.17.19 — Lean Develops Positive Teams

When it comes to ensuring productivity in all aspects of a corporation, many factors can make a difference. Recently, Navistar’s manufacturing leaders have been working to implement practices that create positive environments for their teams.

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, there are three major reasons why positivity benefits a company: it boosts overall positive emotions, helps buffer against negative events and attracts and bolsters employees.

“As a company, we are striving to implement positive teams through leadership, culture, small steps and deliberate practice with feedback,” said Mark Hernandez, senior vice president, Global Manufacturing.

Mark added that his team is motivated to develop a culture in our plants that reflects positive habits and mindsets including:

  • Caring and being interested in colleagues as friends
  • Providing support including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling
  • Avoiding blame and forgiving mistakes
  • Inspiring one another
  • Emphasizing the meaningfulness of work
  • Treating one another with respect, gratitude, trust and integrity

“We are looking to create an environment where everyone wants to work – and people are excited to see their colleagues when they walk through the door every day,” he added. “We spend so much of our life working that we need to make our facilities places that shine with positivity.”

Jeff Webb, vice president, Manufacturing and manager, Springfield Assembly Plant, noted how positive teamwork has made a big impact on production in Springfield.

“Despite significant obstacles, we made big improvements in Springfield before our July break,” said Jeff. “I’m seeing a positive change in mindset and groups working together to solve problems and make good decisions.”

As an individual, positivity in the workplace can directly impact us all and make us more productive for several reasons:

  • People are drawn to and want to help those who share positivity
  • It avoids wasting time complaining
  • Keeps energy high
  • Builds teamwork
  • Determines and builds confidence
  • Solves problems without making them
  • Helps you make good decisions

“When we come to work every day, we are all making a choice to add positivity to the workplace – or not. Negative attitudes can be toxic, so it’s my hope that we get to a place where all employees are coming to work happy and with a goal to support and inspire one another,” said Mark.

6.26.19 — Navistar-UAW Contract Signed

Representatives from Navistar and the United Auto Workers (UAW) signed the 2018 Navistar-UAW Collective Bargaining Agreement last week at a s

UAW_2018_Contract_Signing_editigning ceremony at Navistar’s Lisle headquarters.

Nearly 30 representatives from both parties came together to officially sign the new six-year contract, which was ratified by employees at the end of last year. This replaces the prior contract that expired on October 1, 2018.

More than 1,800 Navistar employees are represented by the contract including employees at our Springfield, Ohio assembly plant, Melrose Park, Illinois facility and Parts Distribution Centers in Atlanta, Dallas and York, Pennsylvania.

UAW_2018_Contract_Signing_Group_edit“Regardless of what we do as a company, we are committed to working together with the UAW for years to come,” said Mark Hernandez, senior vice president, Global Manufacturing. “This relationship is for the long term.”

The 2018 contract, which has already started to be implemented across our locations, provides significant economic benefits for our employees and efficiency benefits for the company.

“I feel good about this bargaining process concluding and I’m looking forward to working together in the future. The new agreement is a reflection of the long-term bargaining relationship between the UAW and Navistar,” said UAW Secretary-Treasurer and Director of the UAW Heavy Truck Department, Ray Curry. “The truck market is strong – and hopefully continues to remain stable to benefit both parties.”

“I am confident that we have set up our locations and our employees for long-term success and we’ll continue to work together to improve quality, safety and cost,” Mark added.

6.12.19 — Ohio House Testimony

Terri Sexton, Navistar’s Environmental and Energy manager, gave an opposition testimony to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee in Ohio last month regarding House Bill 6.

Navistar is an active member of the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association (OMA), which is comprised of 1,400 members whose goal is to protect and grow the manufacturing industry in Ohio. They advocate to preserve open access to reliable and affordable energy needed by manufacturers to keep their operations on track.

Navistar’s Springfield Assembly Plant in Ohio has been in operation since 1967, leaving a manufacturing legacy in the area. This facility, along with all other Navistar manufacturing facilities, is ISO 14001 certified. Navistar encourages teams of employees to recognize waste and help determine the best ways to reduce energy consumption, which reduces our manufacturing carbon footprint.

According to Terri’s testimony on behalf of Navistar and OMA, House Bill 6 will cause multiple obstacles for all Ohio manufacturers. The basis of this bill revolves around the idea of generating more money for two Ohio nuclear power plants on the brink of bankruptcy and two coal-fired plants. One of the largest problems this bill creates is introducing riders for manufacturers and surcharges for consumers to fund the failing plants. The riders and surcharges are expected to raise $1.3 billion in the next six years if the bill is passed.

“This bill would add $52,000 per year to Springfield’s electric bill, simply as an added fee, devastating the energy efficiency savings, efforts and successes that have been invested into our Ohio manufacturing plant reducing energy, greenhouse gas and other emissions,” said Jacqueline Gelb, vice president of Government Relations. “Terri’s testimony gave OMA members and Navistar a voice against unfair legislation that would be a major setback not only for Navistar, but for all Ohio manufacturers.”

Navistar and other manufacturers have made progress in reducing waste and emissions in Ohio, something this bill would no longer support. In her testimony, Terri referred to the bill as “a mandated, customer-financed bailout of uneconomical power plants.”

She concluded that overall, Navistar would be losing profits and the bill destroys all advancement that has been made in renewable and efficient energy standards dating back over ten years.

“Not only is House Bill 6 having a major impact on Navistar and Ohio manufacturers, it is doing a major disservice to Ohio consumers as well,” said Terri. “Speaking out on behalf of companies who have put time and resources into ensuring that our environmental impact is continuously lowered validates just how devastating this bill would be to all progress we have made, simply due to policy.”

Along with Terri, 141 testimonies have been given about the bill. As of Terri’s May testimony, there were 74 opponents and two proponents. Joining Navistar and the OMA in opposition of the bill is the Ohio Consumers Council, which works to advocate for Ohio utility users and many environmental groups.

To read Terri’s testimony, click here

6.3.19 — Improving Through Toyota Kata

Toyota Kata is a buzzword that you often hear in manufacturing. It can be tied to lean initiatives, continuous improvement, company culture and more – the list goes on and on.

Kata is any type of structured form, routine, pattern or behavior that becomes second nature through practice. It has been studied, observed and implemented at thousands of companies around the world. But at the center of Toyota Kata’s success is not the employment of lean processes – it’s the people and company culture that make it work.

“At the core it is about respect for people and continuous improvement, and this has not changed since the company’s founding,” said authors Jeffrey Liker and Michael Hoseus in Toyota Culture: The Heart and Soul of the Toyota Way.

Navistar’s manufacturing team is striving to use the Toyota Kata way to build strong teams, improve operations and efficiently deliver high-quality trucks to our customers.

“Toyota lets people into their plants to observe and review their processes because the secret to their success is employee mindset – and you can’t see that,” said Mark Hernandez, senior vice president, Global Manufacturing. “At Navistar, we have implemented several Toyota Production System processes over the years as best practice, but now we are working towards building a manufacturing culture that empowers our people.”

“The end goal is to have people on the floor actively engaged in daily problem solving,” he added.

Rodney Tharp, Tulsa Bus Plant manager, is working under the Toyota Kata mindset. He starts and ends each day on the plant floor with the goal of bringing a passion and energy to the floor that empowers people to celebrate their successes, solve the challenges in front of them or raise their hands to ask for help if there is an issue.

“If I walk out on the floor and see teams collaborating and working together to identify and solve issues with no involvement from me, then I’ve successfully done my job,” said Rodney.

“This collaboration starts with small steps such as celebrating successes with a simple thank you from a supervisor or in Tulsa we have also reengaged the activity committee to develop new ways of connecting our employees,” he added.

Mark also noted, “Kiichiro Toyoda, Toyota Motor Company founder, said ‘Each person fulfilling his or her duties to the utmost can generate great power when gathered together, and a chain of such power can generate a ring of power.’ This is the power that Navistar’s manufacturing is striving for.”

5.23.19 — Mexico Social Responsibility Award

Oscar photo 1For the 10th consecutive year, Navistar Mexico had been recognized by the Mexican Center for Philanthropy (Centro Mexicano de la Filantropia – CEMEFI) as a Socially Responsible Company (Empresa Socialmente Responsible Award- ERS).

After complying with the established standards in the set areas of economic, social and environmental sustainability, Navistar Mexico has once again demonstrated that it is an organization committed to social, responsible management as part of its culture and business strategy.

The company earned this award through various activities including:

  • Donating gifts and clothing items to children during the holiday season.
  • Collecting different school supplies to help local schools update their classrooms.
  • Planting trees within the community, cleaning up local rivers and donating plastic bottles to a local charity.

Not only has Navistar Mexico supported the surrounding community, but it has also made the company’s employees a priority. Over the past year, the company has offered new opportunities for employees to voice their ideas, proposals and be celebrated more.

Oscar Ruiz, Escobedo Assembly Plant manager, received this award on the company’s behalf on Wednesday, May 15 in Mexico City.

While other companies based in Mexico can receive this award, it’s specifically important to Navistar and the Escobedo plant because this award shows how the company continues to implement new programs to positively impact its community and employees.

The Mexican Center for Philanthropy has been established since 1988 and has offered this award since 2001. CEMEFI is a non-profit association that aims to promote a culture of philanthropy and a high value and social commitment with its collaborators and community.

5.3.19 — Springfield Showcases Ergo Work

SAP_ergo_editThe Springfield Assembly Plant team recently participated in the internationally recognized Ergo Cup competition, sponsored by the Ergonomics Center of North Carolina and Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University.

The team, which consisted of Christine Rollins, senior manufacturing engineer, Chis Oelker, health and safety manager, Terri Cason, UAW safety representative, and Shekar Guntumadugu, ergonomist, presented Navistar’s “Standard Ergonomic Evaluation Process.”

Navistar began an ergonomic assessment and solution program in 2015 to combat the significant work place injuries that occurred routinely. This program is often referred to internally as a plant safety review.

The plant safety reviews have evolved from addressing the top-ten ergonomics issues to a systematic process that drives several sustainable solutions. The process is effective because there is participation from every level and it has contributed to ergonomics being a vital component of the culture at our Springfield Assembly Plant.

“Everyone at the competition was impressed that we have our plant manager in weekly meetings where we talk about ergo issues,” said Christine. “We are definitely unique – everyone has one problem and one solution, we have 190 problems and 190 solutions.”

Through this process the team often finds corrective actions that are innovative and address ergonomic opportunities that help reduce the likelihood of strains, sprains and other injuries.

“I’m so proud of our team for showcasing their work on a national industry level and so glad they have been recognized for their achievements,” said Bill Reed, senior manager, Manufacturing Engineering.

“Our ergo team here in Springfield is exceptional,” said Betsy Jacobs, Springfield Assembly Plant manager. “The engineers will talk to our union partners about ergo issues and then work with the base operators who know the problems first hand. It’s truly a collaborative process that has helped us improve overall safety in the plant.”

4.23.19 — The Andon Mindset

Call for help, boost productivity – everyone has the right to do it at any time. This is Andon.

Andon has been proven to be an effective way of overcoming manufacturing issues at the point of contention before they spiral into larger issues. It is a key part of Jidoka, a quality-control method pioneered by Toyota as part of its well-known Toyota Production System and is now one part of lean manufacturing.

Navistar manufacturing leadership aspires to build this mindset where employees on the front lines feel comfortable and even empowered to “pull” the Andon cord.

“No problem is a problem. If we aren’t willing to quickly identify our problems, they won’t get fixed,” said Mark Hernandez, senior VP, Global Manufacturing. “I encourage all our employees, especially those on the frontlines to use the Andon call system as soon as they see an issue and we will work together to resolve it.”

Navistar’s manufacturing team has invested in Andon tools over the past several years including systems that make it easy to “pull” the Andon cord.

“We are working hard to make sure we are together as a team using the Andon mindset and tools to identify issues and take ownership of those issues as leaders,” said Jeff Webb, VP, Manufacturing. “Our trucks and buses are complex vehicles to build – problems will occur. When we call them out, we increase quality and get trucks to our customers more promptly.”

Mark expressed that Andon must work as a system with the other lean principles such as quality feedback loops and structured escalation.

“Andon is intertwined with almost all of the lean principles. It helps us bring value to customers, improves our process flow and focuses on continuous improvement,” said Scott Shoemaker, senior process manager, Manufacturing.

Other industries and highly successful organizations also use Andon. For example, Amazon uses it as part of their customer service process. When a customer calls to issue a complaint about a product he or she has just purchased, the customer service agent is empowered to solve the problem, so the business doesn’t stop. This means the product is taken off Amazon’s site until they fix the defect and customers can see that the product has been pulled for quality issues in real time.

“Navistar’s manufacturing leadership recognizes that regardless of how Andon is being used, the only way it will work is if we truly empower our employees to use it. This is the culture that we aspire to build, and the work is underway in our plants,” said Mark.

4.17.19 — Escobedo Assembly Plant News

EAP_news_editThe Escobedo Assembly Plant (EAP) recently hosted several notable customer visits as well as events to drive engagement with its employees who are on the front lines building our vehicles. Below is a recap of the news including an employee volunteer program with the Children’s Anticancer Alliance and a “fall in love with Navistar” employee campaign.

EAP partners with Children’s Anticancer Alliance

The Escobedo Assembly Plant focuses its social responsibility efforts on the environment and the community. Both causes are supported through on-site bottle recycling and donation of the bottles to the Children’s Anticancer Alliance.

An employee volunteer group from EAP recently delivered the bottles accumulated since November 2018 to the Children’s Anticancer Alliance location in Monterrey, Mexico. The organization has supported more than 2,600 people since its founding in 1995. They currently serve 430 active patients, who receive help at no charge including food, lodging, transportation, medication, nutritional balance, psychological care, recreational activities, studies and chemotherapies.

During the visit, the volunteers had the opportunity to see the facility and validate where and how our efforts in recycling and donation are reflected. The EAP donation included 628 pounds of recycled bottles. The EAP volunteer group also visited a second time this spring to participate in recreational activities with the children at the facility.

Fall in love with Navistar campaign

EAP launched a campaign this past year that was centered around the question “What makes you fall in love with Navistar?” Many employees participated and shared their point of view. The top responses were: work environment, companionship, our trucks, security, values and culture.

Read what five of the employees had to say:

“First of all, thank you for accepting me in this great family that is Navistar. I fell in love from the first day I joined; it is a company that has a great work environment, because here we are a great team with the same goal: to build the best truck.” -Juan, Ladder Line 1

“I like what I do, and I feel proud every time I see a finished truck, but I feel even more proud when I drive the roads and my children see the International diamond on the trucks and they proudly say ‘those are the trucks my dad builds’.” -Josué, Ladder Line 1

“First, the International brand represents strength, character, decision, greatness, commitment, quality and safety. Second, how impressive it is to assemble a screw, a motor, a hood, tires and so on and at the end we see a big truck.” -Margarita, Logistics

“It makes me fall in love because it is a company that is always looking for continuous improvement and the quality of the trucks is very good. I fell in love because it was always my dream to be part of this company. I wear my shirt with pride.” -Brandom, Logistics Chassis Line 2

“When I arrived, I thought I would never be able to do the task that was assigned to me, but I had a great gift: my shadow. He taught me patience and love for what he does that; I fell in love with it. Navistar is more than a company, it is a great family and I feel super proud to wear my shirt. Not everyone is Navistar and I have that privilege.” -Rosa, Final Assembly Line 1

3.18.19 — Next Steps in Lean Manufacturing

Navistar’s manufacturing team has been on a lean journey for more than five years. Much progress has been made and most recently the Springfield Assembly Plant has begun to implement lean operations such as job rotation to improve safety, quality and costs.

But what does implementing lean today really mean? It’s more than just eliminating waste says Mark Hernandez, senior VP, Global Manufacturing. We recently sat down with Mark and got his perspective on further implementing lean at Navistar’s plants and why it’s important for Navistar to operate under the five lean principles.

Navistar has been talking about lean manufacturing for several years, what’s different now?

As an organization it’s important that we keep evolving, especially as technology and data have made operations more effective. Our goal is to become more transparent in our operations to impact the bottom line and build more trucks. We’ve had some success at Navistar with topics such as Kaizen, value add vs non-value add and Andon, but we need to build a philosophy around our customer’s needs and set KPIs before we will see any results.

We are an organization driven by lowering costs, but eliminating waste is only a small part of lean. Lean, first and foremost, is about delivering customer value. I also want to note that we aren’t changing what we are doing in our plants. We are changing the way we think about it.

What are the key lean concepts that our employees should know about?

There are five basic lean principles, which all center around customer needs.

  1. Value: Everything we do should provide value to our customers. At Navistar, the value we bring is simple – we build quality units, on time, and at the lowest cost.
  2. Value Stream Mapping: This principle involves mapping out your workflow. In manufacturing, it’s our assembly lines. This big picture review of our lines allows us to see what is bringing value and what isn’t.
  3. Process Flow: On the assembly line, bottlenecks and interruptions can come up at any time. We need to determine what typically shuts it down and remove those roadblocks. A clear process flow can help teams overcome obstacles and complete their tasks quicker and safer.
  4. Pull: This principle is about doing the work, only if there is a demand for it. For us, every unit we deliver is what the customer wanted.
  5. Continuous Improvement: This is about always getting better. Always identifying what works, what obstacles we need to overcome, and updating the way we work.

Why is your team focused on further implementing lean?

The bottom line is that 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. The more effective we make production, the more competitive we will be.