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.”

4.24.19 — Three Questions with Betsy

Betsy Jacobs began as the Springfield Assembly Plant manager this past February. She has worked at Navistar since 2015 and has held several roles in manufacturing quality and operations at both our Tulsa Bus Plant and Springfield Assembly Plant. Most recently, she led the Truck Specialty Center and Custom Bus Center manufacturing operations. Prior to joining Navistar, Betsy was lean manager at Pentair and held several managerial positions at Ford and Chrysler. We recently sat down with Betsy to talk about her priorities and vision for our Springfield Assembly Plant.

You’ve worked in several different manufacturing roles. What’s your favorite part about Springfield so far?

We have outstanding people who work here at the plant. They are going to fight just like everyone else would to keep this operation running and to keep making high-quality trucks for our customers.

What is your top priority for the Springfield Assembly Plant?

To make operations improvements at the plant, we need to get to the heart of why. Why do people come to work every day? How do we build a culture where people want to show up, do their best and show compassion to their fellow employees?

I know that when people feel appreciated, when they feel like they matter – they will come to work and put their best foot forward. My role is also to bring out the good points. It’s my priority to talk about the good things all our people are working on, so we continue to move the needle. At the same time, I know issues will occur and it’s my job to break down the barriers, regroup and not beat ourselves up when problems arise.

What’s one thing you want people to know?

Our customers need trucks – and all our employees, leadership and the UAW are together on the frontlines, working hard to make that happen, day in and day out.

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.

2.11.19 — Local 5010 Agreement Ratified

Navistar UAW Local 5010 represented employees at the IC Bus Plant in Tulsa, Oklahoma have ratified a new four-year collective bargaining agreement. The contract was approved by a majority of voting UAW members and replaces the prior contract that expired February 1, 2019 at 12:01 a.m. The contract represents about 700 workers at Navistar’s Tulsa Bus Plant.

2.7.2019 — SAP Hosts Firefighter Training

SAP_firefighters​Last month, the teams at our Springfield Assembly Plant and Truck Specialty Center hosted more than 40 firefighters from eight local fire departments in Clark County, Ohio for truck extrication rescue training. The training took place in the Truck Specialty Center and two ProStars were donated by Navistar for the training.

Navistar has donated trucks for similar trainings near our Melrose Park facility, but this was the first time it was done in Springfield.

“I’m a former firefighter, so when I saw the article about the Melrose Park extrication training, I thought we have two engineering trucks that have been sitting here in Springfield that we should be using for a similar cause – otherwise they will get scrapped,” said Rusty Sindle, senior security consultant, Global Security.

“Working in the fire service, we simply do not get the opportunity to train on trucks due to the vehicle expense,” he added. “It’s really common to get cars because tow companies will donate them, but trucks are rare.”

Rusty explained that for all the firefighters in attendance this was the first time they were able to work on a truck. They also had 12 cars at the training that were donated by a local towing and recovery company. The company donated services to move and haul directly to a shredder afterwards as well.

During the 12-hour training, the firefighters learned several extrication techniques such as how to pop doors, roll dashes, lifting and stabilization and penetrating cabs to access passengers. The tools used for training were the exact tools that are available in an emergency response situation including bars, saws, rams, cutters, spreaders, chisels and heavy hydraulics. They used the newest battery-operated extrication tools at the training, which were loaned out by the top three tool manufacturers. In addition, two specialized extrication instructors were in attendance to lead the class and make sure the firefighters got the most out of the opportunity.

“Manufacturing in the Springfield area is growing. The area is seeing an increase in truck traffic, thus increasing the potential of an emergency situation involving a truck,” said Rusty. “This training opportunity really showed the company’s support to the community and our community emergency resources.”

1.19.19 — Navistar-UAW Agreement Ratified

Navistar UAW-represented employees have ratified a new six-year collective bargaining agreement. This replaces the prior contract that expired on October 1, 2018. The contract includes employees at the Springfield, Ohio assembly plant, Melrose Park, Illinois facility and Parts Distribution Centers in Atlanta, Dallas and York, Pennsylvania.

“This contract will benefit both our employees and the company,” said Mark Hernandez, senior vice president, Global Manufacturing. “It provides significant economic benefits for our employees, and also allows the company to implement team concepts at our Springfield plant that will set the plant up for long-term success and continue to improve quality, safety and cost.”

1.15.19 — Lean Transformation Through Data

Imagine that you are on the plant floor building one of Navistar’s trucks. The truck comes into your station, but then you realize that not all the parts you need are available. What do you do?

You must “call for help” or “pull the Andon cord.” This activates the help chain and a team member or supervisor will soon get the parts you need.

Now, instead imagine that you are on the line and your supervisor gets an alert that the parts are low in your station. They deliver the parts you need before you pull the Andon cord. First time quality is immediately improved, and you are well on your way to making a higher quality truck more efficiently.

This is the new lean process that Navistar is hoping to achieve through improved data analytics in each of our manufacturing plants.

“Providing real-time data allows us to predict effectiveness and give the operator the information they need to build trucks,” said Mark Hernandez, senior vice president, Global Manufacturing.
“Digital also helps processes work faster – world class processes equal world class quality,” he added.

The Manufacturing IT and Analytics teams recently participated in a data analytics workshop at the Springfield Assembly Plant to talk about real-time data collection and a new software pilot that will be launching in February. The software will help plant managers visualize the health of the assembly line in real-time. It will also allow plant employees to focus on quality assurance versus quality control.

Navistar’s manufacturing plants have been focused on their lean transformation for the past several years and this is another way that they are improving lean processes in the plant.

“This is one of the many initiatives we are doing to make manufacturing more effective at Navistar,” said Mark.