Vol. 4 No. 6
Being the best not enough
Ironically, sometimes even being the best isn’t good enough.
I don’t think that the workers at General Motors of Canada Ltd.’s
Number 2 auto assembly plant in Oshawa, ON, which is scheduled to be
closed in 2008, would appreciate the irony involved in their situation.
Canada’s Oshawa assembly plant was recently recognized by two major
automotive reports: J.D. Power and Associates’ 20th annual study of
initial quality and Harbour Consulting’s annual Harbour Report North
America 2006 which measures assembly, stamping and powertrain
productivity performance by North America automotive manufacturers.
example, according to J.D. Power’s 2006 report on initial quality, GM’s
Number 2 assembly plant produced the highest quality cars in North and
fact, this is the second year in a row that GM’s Number 2 assembly
plant has won J.D. Power’s Gold Plant Quality Award. The Oshawa Number
2 assembly plant currently produces the Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick
Lacrosse, and Buick Allure mid-size sedans. J.D. Power’s study is based
on responses from 63,607 U.S. owners and lessees of 2006 vehicle models
after 90 days. The study found that the Number 2 plant recorded the
fewest defects per vehicle among 85 automotive manufacturing operations
in North and South America.
study ranked GM’s Number 2 assembly plant first with an average of 43
defects per 100 vehicles. The Oshawa plant finished ahead of
DaimlerChrysler’s minivan plant in Windsor, ON and Toyota’s plant in
Georgetown, KY, both of which finished tied for second place with 47
defects per 100 vehicles.
Harbour Consulting’s annual Harbour Report North America 2006 ranked
GM’s Number 2 assembly plant in Oshawa as being the second most
productive in North America trailing only Ford’s Atlanta plant. “Among
assembly plants, Ford’s Atlanta plant set the benchmark for labor
productivity with a measure of 15.37 hours per vehicle, followed
closely by GM’s Oshawa, ON Number 2 line.”
the Harbour Consulting report notes that the labor productivity gap
continues to narrow among all North American car makers.
manufacturing productivity gap among North American automotive
manufacturers is smaller than ever as quality advances are driving
productivity improvements and all manufacturers get more from their
work force and capital investments,” the report says. The difference
between the most and least productive plants in terms of total
(assembly, stamping and powertrain) labor hours was 7.33 hours per
vehicle (HPV) in 2005, down from 9.08 in 2004 and less than half the
16.56 HPV gap in 1998.
while the labor productivity gap is closing amongst the six major
manufacturers, there still remains larger gaps in such areas as
capacity utilization. For example, the Harbour Report notes that GM is
operating at 90% of capacity utilization. “DaimlerChrysler, Ford and GM
still have a wider variation in capacity utilization among their
assembly plants, while they continue to work on plant flexibility. By
closing plants in the next two years, Ford and GM will see improvement
on capacity utilization.”
It’s just too bad that GM has to close one of the best plants in the western hemisphere to achieve that goal.
Iscar introduces Canadian market to new solutions
customers and distributors were recently given a comprehensive overview
of Oakville, ON-based Iscar Tools Inc.’s extensive line of cutting
tools and inserts as well as a sneak preview of new products that the
firm will be introducing into the North American market in the near
The one-day event attracted an audience of approximately 200 attendees including end users, distributors, and more.
particularly noteworthy aspect of the event was that Jacob Harpaz,
president and chief executive officer of the global Iscar Metalworking
Companies (IMC) group, conducted the presentation.
marked the first occasion that Harpaz had made such a presentation to
the Canadian market. Harpaz gave the same presentation at a similar
event held in Boucherville, QC.
presence at the event was also timely in light of the recent
acquisition of 80% of IMC’s shares by Berskshire Hathaway Inc. for $4
the long term, this is very good for IMC. Our goal is to be number one
in the market and Warren Buffet (chairman of Berkshire Hathaway) will
help us to reach this goal,” says Harpaz.
the productivity of its customers is a continuing focus for Iscar, says
Harpaz. “Everyone is looking for productivity improvements and also
looking to improve the profitability of their own companies.
the direction of both the machine tool builders and the cutting tool
manufacturers is looking at how to cut production time,” he says.
Harpaz, “The most important part is cost reduction. In terms of cost
reduction, Iscar wants to form a partnership (with its customers)
working together to solve productivity problems.
it’s not only a partnership in terms of cost reduction but also for
continuous upgrading. According to Harpaz, approximately 70% of Iscar’s
sales are coming from sales of new products. “Iscar is continuing to
grow its base of bringing innovative solutions (to the market).”
fact, according to Harpaz, approximately 40% of Iscar’s total product
line is less than three years old while about 60% of Iscar’s product
line has been introduced within the last five years.
vast number of new products that Iscar continues to introduce into the
global marketplace is a result of the firm’s ongoing commitment to
research and development, says Harpaz, adding that approximately 10% of
Iscar’s total workforce is involved with research and development.
“At the same time, approximately 6% of our total turnover is reinvested back into research and development,” adds Harpaz.
Harpaz, “Today, Iscar is a full line tooling supplier. In Canada, under
Iscar Canada, we offer a complete product line for all types of
machining applications including turning, grooving, parting off,
drilling and holemaking, tooling systems, and more.”
presented information on a variety of products from Iscar including the
HELiTURN system based on double-sided inserts with four cutting edges
under Iscar’s Fast Metal Removal program; new grades for ISOTURN
inserts; multifunction tools for drilling milling, internal and
external tuning and threading; Iscar INMINI (tools for the miniature
and mass production industries; and many more.
(Left) Jacob Harpaz, president and chief executive officer of the
global Iscar Metalworking Companies group and Robert Renaud, general
manager of Iscar Tools Inc., Oakville, ON.
September 6-13, 2006- IMTS-International Manufacturing Technology Show,
McCormick Place, Chicago, IL. For information contact AMT-The
Association for Manufacturing Technology at (703) 893-2900 or visit www.IMTSNET.org
September 12-14, 2006- SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Exposition,
MSU Management Education Center, Troy, MI. For further information
contact the Society of Plastics Engineers International at (203)
775-0471 or visit http://www.speautomotive.com.
September 25-27, 2006- Fourth Annual North American Hydroforming Conference & Exposition,
Four Points Sheraton, London, ON. For further information contact For
further information contact the Society of Manufacturing Engineers at
(800) 733-4763 or visit www.sme.org
September 26-28, 2006- Canadian Manufacturing Week
(featuring six events including Weld Expo Canada and Finishing Expo
Canada), International Centre, Toronto, ON. For further information
contact Bob Mathieu, group show manager with Reed Expo at (416)
848-1689, Ext. 229 or visit www.reedexpo.ca
October 10-12, 2006- Collaborate 2006, Von Braun Center,
Huntsville, AL. Collaborate 2006 is North America’s only automotive,
aerospace, and defense collaborative event. The event will focus on
such topics as lean manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, and
lifecycle management. For further information contact the Society of
Manufacturing Engineers at (800) 733-4763 or visit www.sme.org
October 16-20, 2006- Association for Manufacturing Excellence 2006 International Conference, Adams Mark Hotel, Dallas, TX. For further information contact the AME at (224) 232-5980 or visit www.ame.org
October 31- November 2, 2006-FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show, Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA. For further information contact the Society of Manufacturing Engineers at (800) 733-4763 or visit www.sme.org
March 26-29, 2007- WESTEC 2007 Exposition & Conference,
Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA. For further information
contact the Society of Manufacturing Engineers at (800) 733-4763 or
Coming in the September issue of
Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association of Canada - This
site is an information resource for Canadian OEM producers of parts,
equipment, tools, supplies and services to the automotive industry. www.apma.ca
Canadian Machine Tool Distributors Association - A resource for Canadian machine tool distributors. www.cmtda.com
Canadian Welding Association - Information resource for the Canadian welding industry. www.cwa-acs.org
Miller Electric Manufacturing Company - The new web site offers information and resources on welding for end users and business owners. www.MillerWelds.com/Results
Wilson Tool International - New e-Business Center offers
online tool orders, quotes, invoices, special tool drawings, and
shipment tracking for fabricators. www.wilsontool.com
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