Ford South Africa has created about 1,200 additional jobs by adding a third shift as part of its $1.05 billion (R15 billion) investment in its Silverton Assembly Plant.
The automotive group said that its local workforce had increased from its current 4,200 employees to around 5,000, along with an additional 440 jobs in service providers on site.
This brings Ford’s total workforce at the Silverton facility to more than 4,100, with 850 people employed at Ford’s Struandale Engine Plant in Gqeberha, he said.
The reintroduction of the third shift will support the expansion of Ranger’s current bakkie production to meet strong local and international demand. It will also allow for increased production capacity of the next generation Ranger, starting in 2022.
This is the first use of the three-shift production schedule since it was implemented as an interim measure during the second half of 2019 to meet the higher production volumes required for the current Ranger – and will see the Silverton Assembly Plant operational around the clock, five days a week.
Once the best-selling passenger vehicle in South Africa, Ford has lost its top spot to rival Toyota Hilux for the best part of the year.
“Our primary goal with our $1.05 billion investment in our Silverton Assembly Plant and supplier facilities is to expand our manufacturing capacity, and to introduce state-of-the-art technologies and systems as we modernize our manufacturing operations to align with the best in the world. the world,” said Ockert Berry, vice president of operations at Ford South Africa.
“Most importantly for our community, higher production volumes mean more jobs, and we are pleased to add the 1,200 jobs now filling the third shift from early September. We first ran three shifts and 24-hour production for a limited period in 2019 to meet higher volume targets, and we are pleased to return these extra shifts to permanent fixtures as we ramp up our production.”
With the additional shifts, the Silverton Assembly Plant will be able to produce up to 720 vehicles per day, or 240 units per shift – the equivalent of one new Ranger going off track every two minutes, Berry said.
Two-thirds of the Rangers produced are exported to more than 100 global markets, including Europe which is the best-selling pickup. The remainder is sold in South Africa.
When the next-generation Ranger launches in 2022, the facility will have an annual installed capacity of 200,000 vehicles – nearly double the 110,000 it was capable of producing when production of the current Ranger pickup began in 2011, and a significant increase from the 168,000 units before it started. last investment.
The Silverton plant assembly line has undergone an extensive transformation focused on broad upgrades to modernize facilities, increase efficiency, and improve production quality throughout the plant.
Ford is currently building an all-new Body Shop and Stamping Plant at the Silverton location, along with a new in-house Frame Line in the adjacent Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ).
Most of the assembly line changes were completed during the seven weeks of strategic plant closures in July and August this year, with construction and engineering teams moving in to remove old equipment and install the latest production technologies and systems.
“The seven-week closure allows us to implement the largest and most comprehensive upgrade and modernization of the Silverton Assembly Plant to date,” said plant manager Tim Day.
“Our entire focus is on being world class and comparable to the best Ford manufacturing plants globally. This is important as we strive to deliver the required production volume and achieve the highest level of quality for our customers.”
The biggest change is a total redesign of the factory layout, Day said.
“The progressive evolution of the plant saw it grow organically over the years, which resulted in a less than ideal layout. Therefore, we have completely reworked the assembly line to maximize efficiency through the assembly process and vehicle validation.
“We have removed approximately one kilometer and 20 transactions from the previous assembly line flow by eliminating the back and forth movement of vehicles within the factory during various stages of production. This will result in all manufacturing processes and quality checks being carried out in the zone where it is manufactured, contributing to greater efficiency and more effective quality control before the vehicle moves on to the next station.”
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