Toyota, BMW and Square D named 2006 Top Plant recipients

By Plant Engineering Staff December 15, 2006

OAK BROOK, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Plant Engineering magazine has named Toyota Manufacturing of Kentucky, BMW of South Carolina, and Square D of Nebraska as recipients of the 2006 Top Plant award, which recognizes U.S. industrial manufacturing facilities for their commitment to productivity, safety and innovation.

The winners are featured in the December issue of Plant Engineering.

“There are many differences in these facilities, but they all have one thing in common — an unwavering commitment to their employees and to the markets they serve,” said Plant Engineering editor Bob Vavra.

For example:

  • Toyota’s Continuous Improvement Program empowers workers to drive change. “We have the same equipment, basically, as our competitors. We use the same raw materials. They come from the same suppliers. The key is our people — they are the real key to our success,” said Toyota general manager Tom Zawacki. “We have intelligent, flexible, highly motivated people that have a voice in what they do.”

  • BMW rebuilt its assembly system to a single line system without layoffs or loss of benefits. It also instituted a methane gas recovery system from a local landfill. This system now provides 53% of the plant’s energy needs, recovers sufficient energy to heat 15,000 homes a year and removes greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. “We are using a wasted resource and we’re saving more than $1 million a year,” said BMW’s Bunny Richardson.

  • Square D has increased capacity while finding new ways to save money. For example, changing from metal halide and mercury vapor bulbs to fluorescent T8 fixtures will cut energy by 1.4 million Kwh, or $61,000 a year. “We’re always looking at ways to drive more volume,” said Square D plant manager Jamie McDonald.

    • “We created the Top Plant awards to share the best in manufacturing strategy with our readers, and we believe this year’s recipients provide a blueprint on how to empower workers and build manufacturing processes that lead to excellence,” said Plant Engineering publisher Jim Langhenry.