Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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November 24, 2013

Bringing the academy to the plant

Chrysler brings WCM mobile unit to Kokomo.

(Continued)

WCM is one of numerous continuous improvement systems which spun off from the work of American management specialist W.E. Deming and others in post-World War II Japan.

It engages the workforce to provide and implement suggestions on how to improve their jobs and their plants.

Forget the idea of a “suggestion box;” the WCM method involves teaching employees how to write a complete report on specific problems, outlining the problem in full before moving on to a second phase in which a fix is contemplated.

In the final phase of the “Quick Kaizen,” employees try their best to identify the cost-benefit of the changes. Company leaders can then compare between all of the Quick Kaizens they’ve received to prioritize them, with the Kaizens with the most cost-benefit ranked highest.

When the academy trainers come to the plants, they bring more than just a dry classroom presentation. Everything is interactive, from sketching out problems on a Wii to watching 3D videos using special glasses, the presentations are designed to engage the adult learner, explained Greg Marquardt, a lead trainer representing the United Auto Workers union.

Students who attend the mobile unit’s courses will participate in three rotations. During the rotations, 42 students will take classes inside the unit, as well as underneath a canopy attached to the trailer. A minimum of three academy staff members, including trainers and facilitators, will travel with the unit on each trip.

“By coming to the plants, we can increase the number of Chrysler Group employees who can call themselves ‘students of the academy,’” said Santure. “The benefits of increasing WCM know-how are countless, and the mobile unit enables us to bring WCM knowledge to those who may not be able to travel to the academy on a regular basis.”

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