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Lear Seating - Case Study The Lear Seating Plant Questions...

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Case Study: The Lear Seating Plant Questions: 1. What are the major changes required for Lear Seating to apply a JIT replenishment model for Chrysler? Think about the following areas: Product Design Process flow Production Scheduling Communication with customer Inbound receiving Sequencing and loading Transportation scheduling 2. What are the risks associated with direct shipping? What contingency elements are required to overcome these risks? 3. Can direct shipping be achieved without collaboration with customers and/or suppliers? What does it take to make this happen? 4. An important consideration that allowed Lear to succeed was proximity to its customers and suppliers. Should suppliers to Lear consider co-locating closer to its automotive customers and suppliers as well? Why or why not? 5. What does it really take to become a lean manufacturer with direct shipping capabilities? Overview Lear ships JIT to Warren, Michigan Chrysler truck division – located 38 miles from the plant. This is a UAW plant – but relationships with management have always been very good. This was evident as we walked through the plant – Bob, one of the general managers at the plant, has been working in the automotive industry for 37 years, previously at GM and now at Lear. He has an outstanding relationship with the workers, keeps track of all happenings that occur, and knows every associate on a first-name basis. New Product Development Lear has a very close relationship with Chrysler. Lear Romulus 1 is the feeder plant exclusively for Chrysler, producing seats for the Dodge Ram, Dodge Dakota, Dakota Extended Quad Cab, and Dakota AN 84. Lear sales
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representatives and engineers are in daily contact with Chrysler people – and many of them reside full-time in Chrysler plants. For example, design for manufacture is a critical element in seat design, which has major implications for ergonomics and efficiency (and cost) at this plant. As such, many design engineers from Lear reside permanently at the Auburn Hills design center. This is where they go to work every day! They are there to ensure that manufacturability elements are well understood by Chrysler designers – and work to engage Chrysler in value analysis and value engineering suggestions that can take cost out of the seats and make them easier to manufacture. One section of the plant is devoted exclusively to prototype development – building future seat models for the Ram and Dakota models. Worker input is used as feedback to Chrysler regarding how easy a seat cover is to work with, and this is used to input suggestions regarding which seats are selected. This area is also used to prototype the process to assemble seats – using actual tooling. A miniaturized seat assembly process is put together – essentially a prototype plant that will be used to produce the product on a broad scale. This is also used as a big input into the upfront design process.
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