STERLING HEIGHTS, United States - As Ford continues to commonize its global vehicle platforms, powertrain component manufacturers find themselves shipping parts all over the world.
Van Dyke Transmission Plant is a great example.
Van Dyke currently produces three front-wheel-drive transmissions for 10 of the 20 global vehicle platforms and ships globally to 15 different assembly plants in North America, South America, Europe and Asia Pacific and Africa.
“We have a lot of customers,” said Jim Cole, United Auto Workers quality representative, Van Dyke.
“Globalization has forced us to have a sense of urgency.”
The Van Dyke team always is trying to learn about their customers.
“The more we know about global customers, the more we can improve our product,” said Lisa Cittadino, quality manager, Van Dyke. “The teams work to understand how the various global customers use their vehicles to ensure their satisfaction needs are met.”
Kenny Grace removes the FN transmission from the line and prepares it for shipment.
Van Dyke made a 50 percent improvement in its quality metrics in 2010 and received the President’s Quality Award for the Highest Quality Transmission Plant in North America in March.
It accomplished this by following its processes, addressing supply base issues and improving the design of their transmissions.
Van Dyke has high standards for itself and suppliers.
“We investigate every single issue and our warranty is evidence that we’re doing that,” said Cittadino. “We don’t just work to our objectives – we work to zero defects and it takes the whole plant to do that.”
Everyone at Van Dyke is involved in working toward this goal.
Nicole Gregory installs the reverse
Nicole Gregory installs the reverse clutch in the FN transmission.
“We react immediately as a team,” said Cole. “Operators’ voices are heard. We actually encourage people to stop the line if something is wrong. One of the successes of our plant is working together as a team. We get jobs here because of the hard work that everyone has done.”
Managing the number of transmissions and the customer base at these high quality levels requires strict adherence to astandardized Quality Operating System.
The use of the powertrain Quality Operating System as monitored by the Quality Operating System Coordinators creates a standard quality environment throughout the entire plant.
Van Dyke is still expanding and is now launching the new HF35 hybrid transmission. This brings new customers, but the quality expectation is the same.