Assessing Goodyear – Improvements, cost reductions keys to local plant’s future

Assessing Goodyear – Improvements, cost reductions keys to local plant’s future

Continued improvements and reduction in operating costs were cited by a top official Friday as the keys to success for the local Goodyear plant.
Plant manager Todd Turner shared his vision with Rotarians Friday during a weekly meeting of the Union City Rotary Club.
“We are making what we feel are a lot of positive improvements and we need to continue to increase the pace of these improvements,” he said.
In support of this effort, each associate must focus on safety as the primary priority.
“By focusing on safety, we will naturally drive our operation to become more competitive, better meeting our customers’ needs,” he said. “Maintaining a safe working environment for our associates, meeting customers’ needs by attaining our production schedule on a daily basis and reducing our costs — these are important indicators for our plant. All our associates have a responsibility in how we perform in each of these areas.”
Positive developments
Turner said Goodyear has recently initiated many positive developments with the introduction of innovative products, the launch of its “Get There” advertising campaign, increased capital expenditures and accelerating investments in high-value added (HVA) tire production capacity.
He reviewed numerous activities that occurred at the local plant in 2007, including:
• Safety performance im-proved, particularly in the last four months.
• The plant team successfully moved to the new continuous schedule in September.
• The production ticket was met for the four months of September-December
• More than 400 new associates were added to the work force.
Complex product
“A tire is a complex, highly-engineered product,” Turner told Rotarians. “Its importance is underscored by the fact that it is the only part of a car that comes into contact with the road.
“We continue to meet all quality standard requirements by our original equipment (OE) customers, and we are certified to both the international quality standard and the environmental standard.”
Winning awards
The local Goodyear plant won two prestigious awards last year — an energy conservation award presented by the U.S. Department of Energy, and a state environmental award for environmental improvements and solid waste management presented by the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and In-dustry.
Turner said he is proud that the plant no longer discards solid waste into the local landfill.
“This was a corporate challenge to all the plants, and our team met it with the recycling assistance of local companies, including Barker Brothers Waste and Advanced Recycling. It is the right thing to do for our company, plant and community,” he said.
Partnerships
“We appreciate the partnerships we have with this community,” Turner said.
The partnership was demonstrated last year with the city’s recent paving of the Mount Zion access road to the plant and by Union City Fire Department visits to the plant. The purpose of the UCFD visits was to acquaint firefighters with the layout of the plant and to help management review how the plant’s fire protection system may be improved.
Another example of partnership is the maintenance training services provided by the Obion County Industrial Training Cen-ter located in downtown Union City.
Competitive industry
The Union City plant operates in a very competitive industry, Turner said. “Other tire companies are taking many steps, including increased (spending on advertising) and heavy capital investments in their manufacturing plants,” he said.
He listed Bridgestone’s sponsorship of the upcoming NFL Super Bowl halftime show as an example of competition.
Look to the future
“We are approaching our challenges by trying to foster a positive team atmosphere in our plant,” Turner said. “This year, 2008, is a special one in our plant’s history.
“We will produce an additional one million tires this year, and we will produce our 450 millionth tire this fall. It’s also a milestone year with our plant’s 40th anniversary.”
A Union City welcome
“My family and I appreciate the reception that we have had from many of you. You have made us feel welcome and we enjoy being a part of this community,” Turner told members of the Rotary Club.
Published in The Messenger 1.24.08

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