Every three years, Magna rolls out significant changes to MAFACT requirements, the company’sguidelines that are designed to improve cost, quality, efficiency and safety, while stimulatinginnovation and driving positive behavior.
“MAFACT is all about continuous improvement,” said Mike Nishimura, Magna’s director ofMAFACT and manufacturing support. “The 2021 revision features more stringent requirements,with a focus on proactive activities and predictive scoring.”
Magna People took an in-depth look at what MAFACT means to management, qualityengineers and shop-floor employees at Mississauga Seating in Ontario, Canada, andMechatronics Kunshan in China. Here are their stories:
Creating Solutions –
and Meaningful Jobs
Magna’s Mechatronics Kunshan division,where 1,000 employees produce 20 milliondoor-latch systems each year, is a model ofcontinuous improvement as a result ofMAFACT.
Recently, the plant launched a customizedprogram designed to improve efficiencythrough a digital system that eliminated theneed for shop-floor employees to filepaperwork about issues on the nineproduction lines.
“Today, all MAFACT-related items are in adatabase that everyone can access,” said PhilChen, the plant’s general manager. “Insteadof people recording data, the computer doesit. This improved efficiency by 2% – or thework of 14 people. We save money byimproving efficiency, and we provideemployees with more meaningful jobs. Theywork on analyzing problems to createsolutions and provide actions instead ofdoing paperwork.”
He added: “We went through this processwith MAFACT guiding us.”
Chen credits MAFACT with helping theemployees here to “think big.”
I joined Mechatronics Kunshan in 2006 as aproject manager when we had modestannual sales of about $5 million,” heexplained. “The bar is raised in every versionof MAFACT and that empowers us. I’m alwaystelling our employees, ‘If we are innovative,you have more solutions than issues.’ As aresult, we will have annual sales of about$180-$190 million in 2021.”
The plant manufactures and ships latchesnot only to Chinese Domestic market butAsia Pacific and global market as well. Othercustomers include BMW, Daimler, GM,Nissan and Volvo to a lot of Chinesedomestic customers like ChangAn, Geely,Greatwall and SAIC etc.
In a similar way, MAFACT has helped Chen torealize his dream of “being part of the game”in the auto industry.
Chen grew up in a small town of JiangsuProvince, where people got around onbicycles, not cars.
As a teenager, he listened to Voice ofAmerica radio programs, where he wasintrigued by descriptions of America as a“country on wheels.” Chen also had access toautomobile magazines from his schoollibrary, where his father was a teacher. Heearned an undergraduate degree inchemical engineering and worked for twoyears in the chemical industry, but gave thatup because he “loved automotive.”
“At Magna, we are delivering safety parts thathelp human beings,” Chen said. “MAFACT is atool that helps us deliver better quality parts.MAFACT also brings Magna together, notonly by appearance or slogans. We aresharing best practices, competing with eachother and rewarding good performers.MAFACT brings this culture together.”
Inspiring andEncouraging Employees
When Jingjia Chen was hired as a shop-floorworker at Magna’s Mechatronics Kunshanplant in 2016, his job was to put togethertwo simple parts. Chen quickly embraced theMAFACT guidelines and became dedicated toworld-class manufacturing, an attitude thatwould have positive results for his career andfamily.
Using the principles of MAFACT, Chen figuredout four manufacturing improvements thatled to more efficient jobs. Just two years later,he was promoted to line leader and nowmanages 33 people on the plant’s line thatsupplies premium parts to BMW andDaimler. Today the line, which produces6,000 parts per shift, is held up as a model ofefficiency and quality for the plant.
“I wanted to grow and MAFACT helped me todo that,” Chen said. “I consider myself to bean introvert, but MAFACT taught me to be acommunicator. I feel comfortable talkingwith people from different teams.”
Because of employees like Chen, theKunshan plant received the “excellence”award for implementing MAFACT throughoutMechatronics/Mirrors in China in 2020.
Sandy Cao, the Kunshan productionmanager and Chen’s manager, said MAFACTcontinues to be a vital part of training for allemployees.
“MAFACT inspires and encourages lineworkers to improve the process,” Cao said.“Every new employee receives training fromthe plant’s MAFACT specialist. After training,everything the employee does connects backto MAFACT. Once employees understandMAFACT, they have a better chance atpromotions.”
He adds: “The new version of MAFACT withthe digitalized toolkit is even more practicaland will improve efficiency even more.”
In the meantime, Chen’s managers say hehas “great potential” for more careeradvancement. His promotion to line leaderenabled him to buy his first apartment, a bigstep for his family, including daughterRuoxue, 6, and son Shuoran, 3.
“After five years with the company, I have tocredit MAFACT for supporting and guidingme through my job every day,” Chen said.
A Badge of Success
Everyone at Magna’s Mechatronics Kunshanplant wears a badge that contains theiremployee ID and a handy reference guide toMAFACT and world-class manufacturing.
“You can take the card out any time and lookat the Magna priorities,” explained Vito Sun,the plant’s quality engineer. “It helps youunderstand lean manufacturing and how itall comes together. MAFACT is a guide forquick responses to issues.”
A recent example: A team at Kunshandiscovered a noise issue with a door-latchmodule. The latch made a noise locking andunlocking. The challenge was to collect thedefective parts and compare them to pastproducts that met quality standards.
“MAFACT has a process and a structure inplace to solve problems,” Sun said. “It sets usup for long-term, consistent quality. WithMAFACT, people won’t forget the solutionand it prevents problems in the future. Weknow how to do the right things at the righttime with the right people.”
MAFACT’s digital platform has greatlyimproved cost control and work efficiency,since there is no duplication of paperwork,Sun noted.
In fact, Sun sometimes finds himself applyingthe principles of MAFACT to his family life.
“Sometimes I talk to my 4-year-old sonSteven about continuous improvement,” Sunsaid. “If he makes a mistake, such as notlining up with the rest of the kindergartenersat school, I tell him to take ‘preventive action.’I don’t know if he completely understands,but sometimes he will tell me, ‘Father, youdid something without any results!’”
Quality Lessons from Mom
When 21-year-old Patrick Marzan started working as a production operator at Magna’sMississauga Seating plant in June 2020, he had a question for a quality engineer who alsohappened to be his mother.
“What is MAFACT?” he asked.
“They are guidelines on how to be successful in business,” explained Rosemarie Marzan asshe watched her son learn how to build seating systems for the Ford Edge and LincolnNautilus. “Make sure you follow the proper steps when you install a part. It must be a goodquality product before you release it from your station.”
The quality conversation continued at dinner that night.
“MAFACT is about job security,” his mother said. “If we produce good products, ourcustomers will be happy. Happy customers mean happy employees – and vice versa. Whenthe customer is happy with our quality performance, we would be a supplier of choice forfuture business. MAFACT is also about training and communication. We explain thebenefits and our employees understand the expectations.”
As a direct result of MAFACT, Mississauga Seating has become a quality leader. The plantwon a Magna Excellence for Quality Award for reporting zero defects in 2020, anachievement for a facility that builds up to 250,000 complete seating systems a year. It alsowon J.D. Power Seat Quality and Satisfaction awards in 2017 and 2018.
As a longtime quality engineer, Rosemarie Marzan applauds the revised MAFACToperational principles that were rolled out earlier this year. While tougher, they promise tohelp Magna become even more responsive to the quality requirements of its OEMcustomers.
“With the help of MAFACT guidelines, it’s very easy for me to provide information to ourcustomer because we are always prepared and continually improving”, she said. “We aresuccessful because top management is supportive of and involved in the MAFACTchanges. As a result, employees embrace them.”
Quality has been the centerpiece of Marzan’s career ever since she graduated in 1989 witha degree in electronics and computer engineering from Adamson University in Manila,Philippines. After working as a quality supervisor for a German semiconductor company inthe Philippines, Marzan emigrated to Canada and worked in the auto supplier industry.She joined Magna in 2002.
The only time she eases up on tutoring her three sons about quality is during basketballgames. Her son Matthew, 19, is a shooting guard for the Inter-City Saints of the OntarioBasketball Association. Her husband Modesto Marzan is the team’s assistant coach.
“I rely on my husband to teach my son about quality in basketball,” she said. “I just sit in thestands and cheer.”
In the meantime, Patrick Marzan has returned to Seneca College and his studies tobecome a chemical lab technician after a six-month stint working at Magna and learningthe MAFACT rules. His mother knows the quality lessons he learned on the line will servehim well in his personal life and his future career.
‘The Never-Ending Pursuitof Perfection’
The 400 employees at Magna’s MississaugaAssembly facility are tasked with building“the most visible part of a car’s interior,” saidMike Magri, the plant’s general manager.
“Seating systems have enormouscomplexity,” Magri said. “They are built withairbags on the outboard sides, some havemassage features, and there are a lot ofpotential fit issues, including wrinkles orgaps in the material.”
Fortunately, the majority of employees haveworked here since the inception of MAFACT,which Magri said “guides us to a never-ending pursuit of perfection when it comesto world-class manufacturing. It’s aboutnever settling and constantly evolving.”
He adds: “Our culture understands the needto be competitive in quality and cost. Thoseare givens today. Our people embraceongoing improvement in order to protecttheir jobs. MAFACT helps us provide the toolsfor success.”
Mississauga Seating ranks among the topperformers globally in MAFACT scores, with areputation for operational excellence.
The latest, more stringent version of MAFACT“moves the goalpost again,” Magri noted.The division’s scores dropped in MAFACTbeta testing, spurring employees to tacklethe increased requirements.
“We understand where the gaps are,” saidMagri. “We know our number will jump.”
The 25-year Magna veteran learned earlylessons in quality and efficiency when he wasrunning injection-molding machines on themidnight shift when he was 15. He grew upin Windsor, Ontario, where his dad owned asmall shop that made auto parts.
“My dad taught me that you lose moneywhen you aren’t producing good parts,”Magri said.
Another important lesson: shop-flooremployees are the key to quality and safetyimprovements in a plant.
“If this was a hospital, our direct-laboremployees are the surgeons,” Magri said.“We are the administrative support. Weprovide the tools. MAFACT covers it all.”