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Fiat increasing Chrysler team size, cutting waste

by David Zatz on

As part of Fiat’s drive for efficiency, Chrysler’s existing manufacturing techniques are being changed once again. The empowered work teams are being retained, but cross-training is increasing so that every person in the team can do the job of every other, and the team size is being increased from five to ten. Team leaders are gaining more responsibilities, and the number of supervisors is being reduced.

Even as more power seems to be moving to the teams, though, Fiat is apparently doing time-motion studies to eliminate wasted movements; they are planning to require uniforms and only allow water bottles at employee stations. Employees will only have seven chances to be late or absent without notice before being dismissed. There is also now a rule against talking to reporters.

Some old Chrysler policies are being returned, including the ability of workers to stop the line if there is a problem. Tolerances are being decreased (greater precision is required), and vehicles must be fixed immediately when a problem is discovered.

The Fiat methods are being taught to Chrysler team leaders, supervisors, and managers in a four-day training course. Fiat appears to be encouraging plants to compete with each other to be the first to follow the Fiat system; and, in a pattern described to Allpar two years ago by Chrysler representatives, it appears that the Mexican factories are making the fastest progress, followed by the Canadian plants, with the American plants following.

(Most of this article is based on Alisa Priddle’s story in the Detroit News.)


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