PACCAR has recognized Bendix (Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC) as a premier supplier that meets its rigorous benchmarks for lowering product defects, expressed in parts per million (PPM), for a third time in the past five years.
Bendix’s Huntington manufacturing campus opened in 1980 and employs approximately 400 people across four facilities. This is the second consecutive year Huntington has been honored with the PACCAR 10 PPM recognition. The bustling campus was previously recognized by PACCAR – a global technology leader in the design, manufacture and customer support of high-quality light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF nameplates – for meeting stringent quality benchmarks in 2014 and 2016.
BSFB is a joint venture between Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products LLC. The Bowling Green operation – which earned its first PACCAR 10 PPM recognition – produces the full lineup of commercially available Bendix brand foundation drum and air disc brake solutions, and employs more than 400 people at its state-of-the-art facility, established in 2007.
“To earn the repeated recognition of a partner such as PACCAR a company where vehicle safety and product quality are as highly valued as they are here at Bendix is the sort of achievement that is much more than an award on a corporate shelf,” said Carlos Hungria, Bendix chief operating officer. “Because it’s not about one person or one department making a change for the better: It’s the reflection of a company-wide focus on providing the best products to the commercial vehicle industry. And it’s an insistence on excellence, knowing that what we do in our facilities and the components we ship to PACCAR can – and do – make a real-world difference when it comes to enhancing highway safety for everyone.”
Meeting the PACCAR 10 PPM threshold means that the Huntington and Bowling Green facilities consistently build a successful product more than 99.999 percent of the time for every million parts produced, fewer than 10 contain defects that reach the customer. Last year, the Huntington plant managed 112 unique parts and assemblies for PACCAR, shipping more than 1.4 million units to the truck maker. Bowling Green managed more than 1,900 unique parts and assemblies for the truck manufacturer, shipping nearly 1.1 million units to PACCAR.
Building a Culture of Quality
“There’s much more at work here than just an approach containing the daily issues,” said Chris Camp, interim plant manager for the Bendix Huntington campus. “We’re constantly building and refining a proactive culture of quality in all that we do. We understand that customer expectations are very high and that our own internal expectations have to match them. Our employees aren’t just addressing issues on a given day, but recognizing what tomorrow’s issues might be, and implementing changes to prevent them from occurring.”
Across North America, Bendix manufacturing operations are committed to the Knorr Production System (KPS) quality, productivity and continuous improvement culture, practiced worldwide throughout the Munich, Germany-based Knorr-Bremse Group, of which Bendix is a member. A key aspect of the KPS philosophy is to encourage and empower employees to recognize potential problems, then develop and help implement their own suggestions for quality improvements. At every Bendix manufacturing facility, there’s an ongoing drive for quality that includes realizing new process controls, extensive employee training and customer teams that proactively address potential quality issues.
“The PPM standard is more than just a target: It’s a reflection of our customers’ expectations, and achieving that goal required a multi-pronged, multi-level approach,” said Mark Wasem, interim plant manager at Bowling Green. “We implemented a strong shop-floor management process that involves everybody at the operation; we’ve honed an idea-gathering and implementation system that involves the workforce in continuously improving their operations; plus, we’ve invested in manufacturing and design improvements – all of which were critical components in building our quality culture.”
PACCAR maintains its 10 PPM distinction on a rolling, 12-month performance basis, but in order to be nominated for the quality certification, PACCAR-approved suppliers must meet a range of criteria – in areas that include warranty, quality system certifications and more – plus sustain a non-conforming parts rate below 10 PPM. In addition, honorees must pass PACCAR’s Supplier Readiness Review.
“The efforts of our Huntington and Bowling Green employees to meet PACCAR’s high standards are inspiring to Bendix team members at all levels,” said Hungria. “Operational excellence is everyone’s job, and we are all striving to make a positive difference every day – we just don’t stop. It’s an integral part of our company-wide drive for continuous improvement.”