BELVIDERE, IL — The FCA Belvidere assembly plant, home of the Jeep Cherokee, is the latest plant to be designated silver in the company's World Class Manufacturing (WCM) program. The facility was recognized for its efforts in expanding the implementation of WCM principles.

WCM is the structured and rigorous FCA production system designed to make plants more flexible and competitive by eliminating waste and losses, improving safety and quality, and increasing productivity in a systematic and organized way.

First implemented by Fiat in 2006 and introduced to Chrysler Group as part of the alliance between the two companies in June 2009, WCM principles are applied to all aspects of the plant organization, from quality to maintenance, operations to logistics, with the goal of continuous improvement. WCM also engages the workforce to provide and implement suggestions on how to improve their jobs and their plants, promoting a sense of ownership.

“Achieving silver status is a major accomplishment for all the men and women who work at Belvidere Assembly and I congratulate them on this milestone,” says Jorge Lares, head of manufacturing, FCA – North America. “The achievement of WCM award levels recognizes the long-term commitment of our workforce in fostering a culture of continuous improvement that consistently places Belvidere at the top of the list for quality in North America.”

The Belvidere plant earned the silver milestone after being recognized with the bronze award in July 2016. Silver was awarded following a three-day audit during which the plant earned a minimum of 60 points in 10 technical and 10 managerial pillars by demonstrating clear WCM know-how and competence through employee-conducted pillar presentations and a review of projects that have been expanded across the shop floor.

Through established methodologies and tools, WCM engages the workforce to provide and implement suggestions on how to improve their jobs and their plants, promoting a sense of ownership. Award levels are confirmed through independent audits and awarded plants have a role in accelerating the implementation of WCM throughout the organization as coaches and mentors.

During an audit, zero to five points are scored for each of the 10 technical pillars, which include safety, workplace organization, logistics and the environment, and for each of the 10 managerial pillars, such as management commitment, clarity of objectives, allocation of highly qualified people, motivation of operators and commitment of the organization. A score of 85 would indicate World Class level.

In addition to Belvidere, nine other North American plants hold a silver designation, having been elevated from bronze. Silver is awarded to plants that have taken a preventative approach to implementing the WCM methodology throughout the facility.