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​The Revolution in Employee Training

The Jeep Automotive Plant's Process Center revolutionizes the way new operators are trained

September 27, 2018 - In 2015 the most modern of all FCA's factories was inaugurated in Goiana, in the state of Pernambuco-Brazil, far from the traditional automotive centers. It was built in a location where there were no professionals with enough experience to take on the necessary functions for the production of automobiles. Fast forward three years, and the Jeep Automotive Plant now operetas in three shifts, with more than 13 thousand employees and an annual production capacity of 250 thousand vehicles. How is it feasible? The answer lies within the Process Center: a modern training center with a mini assembly line that can provide all the qualifications a new employee needs to competently perform his/her duties.

"The Process Center trains and prepares employees to produce quality cars", explains Juliana Coelho (photo), manager of Montagem Final or Final Assembly and responsible for the Process Center. "It is a mini plant, where we simulate 100% of the activities carried out at Final Assembly. We provide the same environment seen in our production line", she emphasizes. Before the practical classes, theoretical and static trainings are carried out. Subsequently, we perform dynamic training in the mini assembly line, specific to the operator's job. "We are able to prepare the employee to exercise his/her duties with total confidence and knowledge, with a vision of the process as a whole".

That's why the Process Center was one of the first plants to be built at the Jeep Automotive Plant. "I spent 20 days training here, before going to the line", says Juliana.

Theoretical training room where the concepts of the WCM methodology are applied

In addition to the mini assembly line, the Process Center has classrooms, including three that are specialized, known as dojos. The dojo is a concept of the WCM (World Class Manufacturing) methodology, a system for best practices in production adopted worldwide by FCA in order to reduce costs and optimize productivity, quality, logistics and maintenance processes. "We apply important concepts such as safety, torque and quality", says Juliana. "In our torque and quality dojos, operators learn to make the perfect grips and electrical connections before starting on the assembly line", she adds.

In the Quality dojo, operators go through five stages and learn the importance of a well performed operation

"The Process Center has state-of-the-art technology. The first Jeep Renegade, Fiat Toro and Jeep Compass were designed here", says Juliana, noting that the space is also used in the development phase of new models. Planning for the implementation of the second and third shifts in the plant also came from the Process Center. "Just for the third shift, 31,592 hours of training were done on 25 different topics".

One of the technologies used in training is the virtual reality software IC.IDO (I see, I do), which puts in the hands of the operator a control that allows him/her to manipulate virtual objects as if it were on the real assembly line. "It simulates the line with the car, the mathematics of the car, and allows the operator to pick up and put the materials in the car, all in a more ludic way", Juliana explains.

Even after they are on the production line, operators return to the Process Center for periodic training and complementary training (technical, managerial and leadership), with a focus on continuous improvement.

Anderson Marinho (photo) participated in the first Process Center group. His training, at the end of 2014, lasted 35 days. He was then assigned the role of team leader (each FCA team of six operators has a leader, which optimizes process and product quality). Today, he is Manufacturing Supervisor and instructor. "The Process Center opens our eyes," says Anderson, who was finishing his Business Administration degree when he joined FCA. "After a year at the Jeep Plant, I started teaching. For me, it's very gratifying to do the training", he says.

Alison Ferreira (photo), 20, began at the Jeep Plant on June 23, and as most of her colleagues, with no experience in the automotive industry. "Training at the Process Center is essential for us to perform our duties. It's a lot of information, but we were able to put it into practice on the mini-line before we started".

In 2017, there were 775 training classes at the Process Center with more than 2,500 participants. Among them were newly hired employees and for professionals who are already part of the team, they received complementary courses. Total hours of training exceeded 12,000 hours.

Words: Daniel Schneider

Pictures: Marketing

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