Strategic Cell Migration Successes
Volvo Powertrain North America, Hagerstown, Maryland
Founded in 1900, Mack Trucks, Inc. is one of North America’s largest producers of heavy-duty trucks. MACK® trucks are sold and serviced in more than 45 countries through a worldwide network of more than 670 sales, parts and service centers. Mack is a member of AB VOLVO, a publicly held company headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Hagerstown plant has been involved with the production of engines, transmissions and drive train components since 1961.
In the late 1990’s Mack redesigned their engines to meet upcoming emission regulations and improve engine performance. Subsequent to the acquisition of Mack by AB Volvo, and in response to increasingly more stringent requirements for vehicle emissions, Volvo Powertrain made the strategic business decision to discontinue the production of aftermarket parts and utilize the entire 1.5 million square foot manufacturing complex in Hagerstown, MD, to support manufacture of the current Volvo global engine and transmission platforms. This decision was supported by a multi-year $150 million capital investment project to reconfigure the Hagerstown plant.
Given the dependable performance and long service life of the Mack power train components, a significant installed base remained of engines utilizing the older technology that would require ongoing support with aftermarket parts. Volvo Powertrain North America needed to develop a cost effective and dependable solution to satisfy their current customers. Prior to the change in business direction, valve lifters to service the aftermarket were manufactured in Department 140, which occupied 9000 square feet and utilized the same automated production equipment that produced much higher volumes.
To execute the new strategic business direction a revamped industrial layout was required; the space occupied by Department 140 was needed to produce camshafts for production engines. Alongside traditional outsourcing options, Flinchbaugh’s Strategic Cell Migration™ was thoroughly evaluated. Initial feasibility and planning began in February, 2005. Extensive interaction between the Flinchbaugh project team and key Volvo Powertrain North America employees supported a thorough understanding of the technical features of the product and specialized processing. Flinchbaugh engineers oversaw the entire line transfer including rigging out 12 machines from the Hagerstown plant. The process was rightsized to current production requirements and installed in roughly 2000 feet of Flinchbaugh factory floor space. From unplug to first chip at Flinchbaugh took a total of 16 days. A key to the success of the project was Flinchbaugh taking the time to understand the product and organizing the appropriate team to execute the project seamlessly.