Workforce Development and Investing in the Latest Technology
A detailed article describing the situation (or measures) in our North American plants has been published in the current February issue of American magazine, MetalForming.
Recognized worldwide as a leader in providing stamped parts such as welded assemblies, cross car beams, bumper systems, and further metal and hybrid structures, our company is at the center of the evolutionary swirl encapsulating this rapidly evolving market. In doing so, we have tuned our senses to react to new challenges every day, such as electrification, light weighting, new steel and aluminum grades, reduced lot sizes, shortened lead times and, of course, workforce and supply-chain hiccups.
"We’re heavily invested in training our workforce and providing them with state-of-the-art stamping and welding technology," says Joshua Forquer, Executive Vice President of Sales and Technical Development at KIRCHHOFF Automotive in Troy, USA. He adds that this clears the path to continued success.
Joshua Forquer eyes servo-press technology as providing a sizable competitive advantage for the North American plants, particularly for forming advanced high-strength steels. The plant in Tecumseh, USA alone has 14 presses with press forces of 250 to 1,650 metric tons. Six of these have been newly commissioned since 2017. But it is not only technology that is important, but also employee job satisfaction. "We're committed to building trust and stronger relationships between management and the workers on the floor," adds Forquer, "which we believe will come with our growing commitment to training and investing in our employees." One key to this is the recent investment in a series of online training modules.
Employee development is also of central importance in the welding sector. Missy Smith, Plant Manager in Lansing, USA, works closely with union leadership on workforce development initiatives. For example, as a member of a committee, she has developed a training program together with the Michigan Department of Labor and Lansing Community College.
In order to exchange best practices worldwide, there is the global KIRCHHOFF Automotive best-practices database called GoBench. "We use this for cross-facility benchmarking – any competitive advantage or process development reside in this global database. These process enhancements then become available to anyone on our engineering team anywhere in the world. And, if our management team labels a process enhancement as a global standard, every facility must budget to implement that process to improve their performance," explains Joshua Forquer.
Read the full article in MetalForming magazine here.
Info: MetalForming Magazine
MetalForming is a monthly magazine with a circulation of over 53,000 copies, aimed at engineers, technicians, managers, designers and others working in facilities that add value to sheet metal. Readers are involved, for example, in the manufacture of fabricated metal products, automotive stampings, electric and electronic equipment, appliances and other similar products. MetalForming aims to provide them with tools they need to do their job better.