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WARREN Packard honors plants for perfection



Published: Wed, November 14, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Packard wants all of its plants to have perfect quality next summer when new vehicles are launched.

By DON SHILLING

VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR

WARREN -- Three local Delphi Packard Electric Systems plants achieved perfection this summer.

Of the 11 million parts sent to customers in July and August, not one was defective.

Thomas Sosnowchik, Packard's director of global customer satisfaction, honored the plants Tuesday but then had a message for Packard's other local plants: They are to be perfect next year.

The three that were perfect this year responded to a challenge by Delphi Automotive Systems, Packard's Michigan-based parent company. It wanted plants to ship no defective parts in July and August, which is the launch period for its customers' new and redesigned vehicles.

"Perfection is very difficult to achieve," said Ann Cornell, a Packard spokeswoman. "But it's something that our customers really need."

These Delphi Packard Electric Systems plants didn't ship any defective parts in July and August. Listed are location, products and monthly production:

Plant 8: Dana Street complex in Warren; ignition products; 4.5 million pieces.

Plant 15: North River Road complex in Warren; battery cable; 795,000 pieces.

Plant 48: North River Road complex; after-market products such as harnesses and connectors; 192,000 pieces.

Delphi is the world's largest auto supplier, with Packard making wiring harnesses and related components. Packard employs about 7,000 in the Mahoning Valley.

Charities benefit: Each of the plants honored Tuesday were able to pick a charity, which received $5,000 from Delphi. Chosen were the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Ronald McDonald House and Tod Children's Hospital.

Packard has 45 plants in North America, including 20 in this area, and 22 met the quality challenge. Delphi has 114 North American plants, and 38 reached the achievement.

The challenge didn't include all plants, however. Only those that send a significant amount of their products to automakers qualified. Some local plants, such as Packard's Cortland plant, send products to suppliers and other Packard plants.

Cornell said July and August were selected because they are critical times for automakers, which are launching vehicles with newly engineered parts and systems. Delphi can help simplify the launch for automakers by making sure its parts have no defects, she said.

Packard has been pushing for improved quality in recent years and is seeing dramatic improvements.

Figures offer proof: Packard's local plants had a defect rate of 28 parts per million last year but only six parts per million through October of this year.

"The objective is zero," Cornell said.

One plant that has achieved perfect quality for external customers is Packard's recently reopened plant in Cortland, which makes plastic connectors.

The plant has produced about 800,000 parts and not shipped any defective parts to outside customers, Cornell said. It has sent seven defective parts to other Packard plants, where they were being used with other parts. The plant opened in May 2000 and began full production this past May.

Cornell said quality levels are so high in Cortland because of the investment in technology and training of workers. The company spent $42 million on new equipment and renovations to the plant. The plastic molding machines are programmed to reject defective parts, and inspectors examine the parts for defects as well.

shilling@vindy.com




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