Ford F-150 trainingUS – The OEM says that since May 2013 over 8,000 skilled trades and production workers at Dearborn Truck Plant, Michigan, and Kansas City Assembly Plant, Missouri, have undergone an “intensive” training programme to support manufacture of the new pick-up truck.

Comprising more than 400 hours of in-class and hands-on learning, the training programme has been designed to support the innovative manufacture of the aluminium-bodied vehicle, including forming processes and joining by riveting rather than conventional welding. Additionally, workers must learn to build the truck’s advanced electrical control system. The programme also covers the installation, configuration and operation of new equipment for the production line.

The programme is operating on a ‘train the trainer’ model, in which personnel become subject matter experts who are able to develop their colleagues’ skills on a daily basis.

Preparations for F-150 production have involved significant upgrades at the two plants. Dearborn started manufacturing the new model in December last year, while Kansas will begin in the first quarter of 2015. The combined capacity for the F-150 will be 700,000 per year.

“An effective vehicle launch starts by understanding the current processes and constraints of an assembly plant to align them with the new parts and processes that are being rolled out,” commented Brian Miller, truck launch manager for Kansas City Assembly Plant. “But the most important part of a successful launch is the people. The people on the assembly line are key to producing the best truck on the road today.”