August 24, 2009

Fiat reorganizing Chrysler assembly lines

Italian automaker Fiat is redesigning Chrysler's manufacturing processes to reduce wasted time and movement, industry observers say.

Fiat has moved quickly to inspect Chrysler's North American plants after merging with the bankrupt U.S. automaker and helping it out of Chapter 11, The Detroit News reported Monday.

Under the mantra world class engineering, Fiat managers are reorganizing Chrysler assembly plant workers from teams of five into larger teams of about 10, and are training them to perform every job instead of just one, Chrysler officials told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, they say, the number of supervisors is being reduced and worker team leaders are being handed more responsibility.

The News said Chrysler has confirmed it is exploring the idea of having workers wear uniforms much like Fiat workers, who have uniforms similar to those worn by mechanics.

We were a little shocked by all the changes, including uniforms and only a water bottle allowed at your station, an unnamed Canadian Chrysler worker told the newspaper.