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Jeep Patriot Produced at Chryslers Belvideres Assembly Plant

The 2007 Jeep Patriot was manufactured in Chrysler Group's Belvidere Assembly Plant which was retooled in 2005 and ever since become the flagship for Chrysler Group's adoption of flexible manufacturing. The plant enables for the fast production of vehicles making them available to the market quickly. The plant is capable of producing multiple products on one assembly line.

According to Frank Ewasyshyn, executive vice president for manufacturing, "We are seeing the results of our flexible manufacturing strategy, which we believe is a competitive advantage for the Chrysler Group. Thanks to Belvidere's ability to build multiple models on one assembly line, we expect the production of three all-new models to cost significantly less than the initial investment we made in the plant to build the Dodge Caliber."

The plant in Belvidere's makes use of robotics instead of the dedicated tooling that was previously used. The Belvidere is also the first assembly plant of Chrysler to use body shop that is entirely robotics -- giving the assembly plant the ability to produce products from zero to 100 percent of each model. A fourth model can also be piloted at the same time which helps reduce the time needed to make new-model changeovers. Chrysler Group has invested an additional $419 million to provide their Belvidere plant the robotics technology.

There are many changes that the Chrysler Group is implementing especially in terms of its manufacturing process to accommodate the production of more models on one assembly line. The company has found new ways on how to make the required stamping dies resulting to as much as 60% savings on the die cost.

The inbound parts sequencing center was also upgraded. This is the part of the plant that manages more than 1,799 different parts that are used to assemble Jeep Patriot, Jeep Compass and Dodge Caliber. Aside from sequencing, this center also provides part metering, kitting and container management and delivers complete subassemblies in time to the manufacturing floor. The pre-assembled modules helps to reduce the number of components needed to assemble the Jeep Patriot, Jeep Compass and Dodge Caliper thus improving quality, productivity as well as workers' working conditions.

There is also a tunnel that connects the 500,000 square foot sequencing center to the Assembly plant that house the facility operated by TDS/US one of Chrysler Group's largest minority-owner suppliers and represents the highest level of integration within Chrysler Group plant. The TDS/US organizes the parts placed them in kits to be worked on by individual work stations and delivered through the end of a connecting tunnel to transport to the manufacturing floor. The whole process maintain in-plant stocks at optimal levels and the same time minimizes delivery time and reduced costs at an estimated 12% a year compared to the previous process.

Due to the success of the workplace organizational model in the Belvidere assembly plant, Chrysler Group is going to implement the same organizational model throughout their manufacturing organization. This will ensure that quality is maintain all throughout the products of Chrysler Group so customers are assured that even if they are to get used Jeep auto parts the quality is there.

About The Author Lisa Ziegler is a 29-year old native of Waldport, Oregon and is currently working as a senior research analyst in a top Automotive Research Consultancy firm.
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