“For the first time in Honda’s history, the lead plant for a new global model was located outside Japan. Honda Motor put their trust in the North American regional team to lead this development and manufacturing challenge. I know Honda’s commitment was a good call.”
~ Dan Smith, President of Honda of Canada Mfg.
For 2015 the Honda Canada plant situated on 760 acres in Alliston Ontario, stopped their public tours while they underwent some facility upgrades such as new innovation in the Weld Department and Final Assembly. They have come a long way – in 1986 they produced 8 vehicles/day and now their facility can produce 400,000 vehicles/annually plus 260,000 four-cylinder engines at its adjacent engine plant.
The March 29th tour was filled within 24 hours with the additional requests filling the May 5th tour. Though the guided walking tours are over the end of May, I will be adding this to the Fall SIG Calendar for those of you who still wish to participate.
Here are some of the take-aways from the tour and from the Q&A session that followed;
- Distribution: 75% shipped to the US, 23% stay within Canada with 1-2% to Latin America
- Currently working on the 2022 generation of what they want to change
- All parts have full traceability in every vehicle
- VIN sensitive parts scanned – panel engine, car, airbag
- The facility has moving bin parts
- Robots use lazors to find components for installation and detect empty pallet trays for refilling. Robots measure the windows, adjusts, verifies and installs glass.
- It takes 13 hrs to build a car from start to finish and 8 of those hours are for paint alone.
- Cars are painting in lots of 30 with the popular colors doing multiple lots. It takes 1 minute to change the color and 63 seconds tak time.
- Visual displays throughout the facility. Feedback, good and bad comes in from dealers and displayed on the assembly line.
- Preventative Maintenance is performed during employee lunches, breaks and 3rd shifts. Robots send a message when there is an issue that initiates a PM.
- They have weather chambers for testing, take cars to Manitoba for cold temperature testing -40C to 40C and 100% humidity. Salt spray testing and simulate natural wear and tear of tires and 20 years for seats and repeat opening of doors. They also include crash tests.
- All vehicles go on the test track with 10L of gas before they are off to the dealer
- Employee turn-over is 1%
- 20 Teams/Zones: employees work 2 wks of days/afternoons for 8 hr shifts. They offer cross-training, safety and eliminate repetitive injury. Employees can transfer/make requests in order to keep employees interested in their work.
- Kaizens and Circles – employees can get prizes and awarded money for ideas – points awarded for ideas. 10,000 points can get them a free Civic or 20,000 for and Accord or a trip anywhere in the world.
- 5 employees choose their own Kaizen team. Work on their idea over a blend of core and non-core time, mostly non-core to wrok on it. i.e.: typically before/after their work shifts.
I hope everyone has enjoyed the Honda Tours for this session. Honda is expecting to resume their tours in the late Fall/early Winter and I will certainly be adding more to the schedule. Just remember to register FAST!