Accuride Rockford facility honored

Accuride Corporation (Evansville, Indiana), a supplier of components to the North American and European commercial vehicle industries, announced that IndustryWeek magazine selected its Rockford Operations wheel end manufacturing facility in Rockford, Illinois, as a winner of the 2017 IndustryWeek Best Plants competition. The annual program recognizes North American plants that are on the leading edge of efforts to increase competitiveness and customer satisfaction. 

“Rockford was a classic story of a rust-belt factory that had been starved for capital and left for dead by previous owners,” Accuride president and CEO Rick Dauch said. “Together with our UAW-represented workforce, we decided to restore the business to competitiveness and profitability.  It was hard work, requiring all stakeholders – suppliers, local government, management, union leadership and the workforce – to work together to save a business.  The plant’s ‘phoenix’-like turnaround demonstrates that American manufacturers can be competitive and profitable while paying a good wage.  In my 25 years as a manufacturing and business leader, I have never been prouder of a team.”   

Rockford Operations – part of the Accuride Wheel End Solutions business unit – manufactures and assembles Gunite and KIC-brand brake drums, hubs, rotors, slack adjusters and other wheel end components for the North American commercial vehicle industry.  The longest continuously-operating manufacturing plant in Rockford, the facility’s origins go back to the 1850s.  The principal drivers of the plant’s manufacturing resurgence include:
•    Building a culture of continuous improvement through the engagement of the associates and support of the leaders of Accuride and UAW Local 718, which represents hourly workers at the plant.
•    Investing over $70 million in capital for upgrades to machining, foundry, assembly and facilities and grounds.
•    Adopting common Lean manufacturing and Quality management processes that enabled the plant’s achievement of consistent world-class operating metrics for quality, on-time delivery, warranty and lead-times.
•    Implementing the Plex ERP system that supports data-driven operation and rapid decision-making.