Thursday, December 24, 2009

GM Runs KC Plan Round the Clock

Here’s some good news for car haulers; GM is going to be going around the clock at their Fairfax assembly plant in Kansas City, where they make the well-received Chevrolet Malibu and Buick Lacrosse. They are adding a permanent third shift, shortening the three shifts so that they have two hours of maintenance each day. Such three-shift schedules are rare for car makers on a regular basis, with two shifts being the max in most cases.

Quality control will be the big issue for the Fairfax plant; if GM can do maintenance in two hours rather than six without losing quality, the plan can mean that they can maximize the use of their capital in an era where building new plants might not be feasible given GM’s financial position.

The extra shift will mean an extra 1800 cars coming off the Fairfax assembly line, or over 200 nine-car haulers a day. Or night, since there will be new cars coming off the line during the graveyard shift ready to send to the dealers. That would mean that, if GM wants to be as just-in-timey as they can, there will be 200 loads of cars each night ready to be picked up. A two-driver tandem can be busy around the clock in this system, with the only turnaround constraint being the dealer being open to receive new cars when the drivers get there.

If you’re a GM-affiliated hauler in the Midwest, this is good news, for you’re going to be rather busy, especially if you can tag-team the driving.

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