WCM Academy, ChryslerUS – The educational centre in Michigan has grown from 25,000 sq.ft to 40,000 sq.ft with the addition or redesign of six hands-on learning stations and two classrooms. A Comau Robot Cell has also been installed, featuring two robots of the kind found in many Chrysler bodyshops.

“The WCM Academy has become a critical resource in furthering our employees’ understanding of the WCM methodology,” commented Marcel Breault, head of World Class Manufacturing, Chrysler. “The more people we can train and the more classes we can offer, the faster we are able to accelerate the pace of change across our North American facilities and continue to deliver measurable results in all of our operations.”

The WCM methodology is designed to systematically reduce waste, increase productivity and improve quality and safety, and was introduced to Chrysler as part of the alliance with Fiat in 2009, having been implemented there in 2006.

At the Academy, course material is created internally with input from production plants and is based on specific needs to increase competence levels in certain areas. Training mostly consists of hands-on activities in a laboratory, plus home plant workshops; only 30% takes place in the classroom. The Academy now teaches 45 different classes, compared with four at its launch in 2012.

In addition to expanding the laboratory at Michigan, Chrysler and its partner UAW have developed new course material, launched a mobile unit for distant plants, created a satellite academy at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Mexico and implemented online training.