The domestic auto industry is in big trouble from competitive pressures, rising oil and commodity prices, and the skyrocketing costs of health care. The Chrysler Group needs to move from its traditional business model and adapt to today’s global pressures, or it’s lights out. That was the message last week to members of the UAW and Chrysler Group leadership, who met at Detroit’s Renaissance Center for a fall conference of the National Employee Participation Council (NEPC).
The conference was held because of an influx of new people in leadership roles. Forty-six percent of UAW members and 27 percent of management are new to their roles in the Local Employee Participation Councils (LEPC). Each location’s LEPC is co-chaired by the plant manager and local union president with the objective to keep the joint leadership working together to support employee participation and align joint programs to best use resources.
The theme of the conference was “working together to challenge the competition.” Conference attendees heard a presentation from Sean McAlinden from the Center for Automotive Research on the state of the industry. Frank Ewasyshyn, Executive Vice President—Manufacturing, presented the state of the company. And UAW and management officials talked about what it will take to keep the Chrysler Group moving toward its goal of product leadership, world-class operational excellence and optimized customer experience in the face of mounting challenges. The conference focused on the importance of successfully implementing the Workplace Organization Model to help the Manufacturing organization reach its goals. Read more stories like this one on Manufacturing Scoop.
Time was spent talking about the “Vital Few” initiatives that will help the Chrysler Group achieve its business goals. Those initiatives are:
• Safety: Lockout and energy control graphics training for authorized personnel and wall-to-wall safety audits.
• Quality: The project selection process in the Product Quality Improvement (PQI) partnership.
• Delivery: Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), which will optimize the efficiency of equipment.
• Cost: The company will see enormous cost savings when the vital few initiatives are completed successfully.
• Morale: In addition to WOM, which will empower employees, Manufacturing continues to look at ways of improving morale, such as training. Some of the vital few initiatives in training include an increase in training participation at the TechnicalTraining Center and diversity awareness training, as well as efforts to prevent workplace violence and sexual harassment.
The local leadership was charged to go back to their plants with a renewed commitment to working together to implement WOM and work on the initiatives that will keep the Chrysler Group competitive and secure the future of its work force.