MONTGOMERY, AL-Employees at Lear Corp.'s Montgomery automotive seat manufacturing plant recently took some time off from work to celebrate their new status as ASSEMBLY magazine's 2006 Assembly Plant of the Year. Local politicians and several executives from Lear's Southfield, MI, headquarters were also on hand to mark the event. As part of the festivities, ASSEMBLY magazine senior editor Austin Weber and publisher, Tom Esposito, presented plant officials with an engraved crystal trophy and commemorative banner.

Lear Montgomery is the first automotive supplier to win the award. It is also the first plant in the South to be honored by ASSEMBLY. Previous recipients of the award were Kenworth Truck Co. (Renton, WA) and Xerox Corp. (Webster, NY).

ASSEMBLY magazine and a panel of outside experts selected Lear's Montgomery factory as their plant of the year because of the way the facility has successfully applied a range of new technologies, such as DC electric tools and radio frequency identification, to build car seats on a just-in-time basis for installation in a number of different Hyundai vehicles. ASSEMBLY began giving out the award in 2004. All manufacturers that assemble products in the United States are eligible for the award and invited to nominate their plants.

The goal of the award is to identify a state-of-the-art facility that has applied innovative processes to reduce production cost, increase productivity, shorten time to market or improve product quality. A nomination form for the 2007 Assembly Plant of the Year award will appear in the January issue of ASSEMBLY. After Jan. 1, nominations can also be submitted online through the magazine's web site.