CHENNAI, India – Michael Boneham, president and managing director of Ford India, spent the afternoon of May 17 working on the line at the Maraimalainagar plant, as part of a new employee engagement programme called 'President on The Shop Floor'.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to get a close look at daily operations. I want to learn more about quality and safety processes and to get to know the people who carry these out every day," said Boneham, who donned a pair of blue and yellow overalls, safety goggles, work boots and ear plugs to join the Blanking and Stamping team for the afternoon shift.
Boneham was welcomed by Blanking and Stamping Manager Srikanth Venkatesan and other assembly line employees. After handshakes and introductions, Boneham participated in stretching exercises with the group and listened to a safety briefing.
He then met Venkatesh, a scanner operator at the Whitelight Scanner Room. The state-of-the-art Whitelight Scanner provides a fast and in-depth quality assessment of parts produced at the plant.
"I enjoyed talking with our MD, who was very interested in the scanning process – we actually scanned a part together,” said Venkatesh.
From the Whitelight Scanner Room, Boneham donned thick protective cotton gloves and headed to Stamping Line One, a semi-automatic stamping line that can produce 62,000 car sets per year.
The process involves a manual feed of blanks into the pressline and Boneham joined Stamping Plant employees D. Ramesh Kumar and Kamala Kannan to feed the line. The executive got the hang of it, feeding sheet after sheet onto the line.
"I really enjoyed the opportunity to join the line – it gave me a much better appreciation of the skill and careful handling involved,” said Boneham.
The die maintenance facility was the final stop of the day. Nanda Kumar, die maintenance team leader, demonstrated some of the key processes involved.
"It was very exciting to meet the MD and explain some of our core jobs. He was interested in learning about how we maintain the dies in their proper shape and he even got involved in polishing one," Kumar said.
After a brief Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, Morale, Environment (SQDCME) update by the team, Boneham handed over awards to recognise team members for achievements like highest hits in blanking per day, Ford Total Productivity Maintenance efforts to restore Pressline1 after a major breakdown, and achievements in Safety.
"I like the great job you all are doing here in Blanking and Stamping. I want you to keep up the good work, keep the safety levels up and work towards making Ford reach even greater heights," Boneham said before leaving.
The president’s visit charged up the employees. "It is good to see that the top manager is really concerned about the work we are doing on the floor. I am glad he took time to see how I was doing and took snaps with me. I can never forget this day," said line worker J. Sathish.
Boneham’s visit seems to have inspired a production surge with the Stamping unit, which reported its highest output ever, with more than 10,000 units produced that day.
"This was a great achievement and we have no doubt that the MD's visit boosted team morale and raised motivation levels," said R. Radhakrishnan, general manager, Blanking and Stamping.
The Blanking and Stamping line, built with an investment of more than USD 50 million, currently runs three shifts and has a maximum capacity of 188,000 units per annum.
In the months ahead, Boneham will visit other stations and units to enhance his understanding of working life on the assembly line.
|Boneham speaks with Blanking and Stamping line workers.
||Learning about the Whitelight scanner.
||Scanning a part. |
Boneham learns the the nuances of blank feeding.
Boneham at the store area.
Boneham feeds blanks into the pressline.