KOKOMO, IN-Chrysler LLC’s Indiana Transmission Plant II (ITP II), located in Kokomo, IN, has been awarded the 2008-2009 Shingo Silver Medallion for operational excellence.

The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence, established in 1988, recognizes business excellence in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The philosophy of the Shingo Prize is that world-class performance for quality, cost and delivery can be achieved through lean principles and techniques in core manufacturing and business processes.

"We were all impressed with ITP II's grasp of lean principles and tools, and the ability to identify and develop improvements while motivating the workforce," the Shingo committee said in informing the ITP II management and staff of the award.

"We applaud the ITP II team and their great strides in the implementation of lean practices and productivity improvement."

The Shingo team noted that, "the cumulative result of the continuous improvement activity at ITP II has been to remain competitive in a significant downturn in the market."

The Shingo awards will be officially presented during the 21st Annual Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence Conference in Nashville, TN, May 3 to 5, 2009.

"On behalf of the ITP II team and all of Chrysler manufacturing, we are pleased and proud to be recognized by the Shingo committee," says Frank J. Ewasyshyn, executive vice president - manufacturing, Chrysler LLC.

Opened in 2003, ITP II produces the W5A580 five-speed transmission that is used in the Chrysler 300, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Liberty and Commander, and Dodge Nitro, Challenger and Charger.

Kevin Hayes, Plant Manager of ITP II, credited the employees' involvement in smart manufacturing and total productive maintenance (TPM) in producing the results that were recognized by the Shingo evaluation team.

"It is the employees' involvement in the process that made us stand out," says Hayes. "They have been willing to make changes that are different from the conventional ways of operating a plant."

Smart manufacturing is a program in which small groups of hourly employee meet to evaluate conditions and develop methods to achieve continuous improvement and resolve productivity, quality and safety issues. TPM is a program with skilled trades workers working in small groups to address throughput, safety and other issues with proactive or preventive measures.

In its evaluation, the Shingo team noted that, "ITP II has a strong and healthy relationship with the union at all levels across the plant. The union supports involvement in continuous improvement and shares the long-term vision for the organization."

"Employees are empowered and trusted to handle day-to-day issues and find their own opportunities for continuous improvement," the Shingo evaluators said.
    Indiana Transmission Plant II at a Glance
    Location: Kokomo, Indiana
    Opened: November 2003
    Acreage: 61 acres
    Floor Space: 600,000 square feet
    Employment: 335
    Product: W5A580 - 5-speed transmission
Used In: Chrysler 300; Jeep Grand Cherokee, Commander; Dodge Nitro, Charger, Challenger.

History: Construction begun in 2002. Production launched in 2003.