A Blueprint

for Success

Every three years, Magna rolls out significant changes to MAFACT requirements, the company’s guidelines that are designed to improve cost, quality, efficiency and safety, while stimulating innovation and driving positive behavior.

“MAFACT is all about continuous improvement,” said Mike Nishimura, Magna’s director of MAFACT 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, quality engineers and shop-floor employees at Mississauga Seating in Ontario, Canada, and Mechatronics Kunshan in China. Here are their stories:

Creating Solutions –

and Meaningful Jobs

Magna’s Mechatronics Kunshan division, where 1,000 employees produce 20 million door-latch systems each year, is a model of continuous improvement as a result of MAFACT.

Recently, the plant launched a customized program designed to improve efficiency through a digital system that eliminated the need for shop-floor employees to file paperwork about issues on the nine production lines.

“Today, all MAFACT-related items are in a database that everyone can access,” said Phil Chen, the plant’s general manager. “Instead of people recording data, the computer does it. This improved efficiency by 2% – or the work of 14 people. We save money by improving efficiency, and we provide employees with more meaningful jobs. They work on analyzing problems to create solutions and provide actions instead of doing paperwork.”

He added: “We went through this process with MAFACT guiding us.”

Chen credits MAFACT with helping the employees here to “think big.”

I joined Mechatronics Kunshan in 2006 as a project manager when we had modest annual sales of about $5 million,” he explained. “The bar is raised in every version of MAFACT and that empowers us. I’m always telling our employees, ‘If we are innovative, you have more solutions than issues.’ As a result, we will have annual sales of about $180-$190 million in 2021.”

The plant manufactures and ships latches not only to Chinese Domestic market but Asia Pacific and global market as well. Other customers include BMW, Daimler, GM, Nissan and Volvo to a lot of Chinese domestic customers like ChangAn, Geely, Greatwall and SAIC etc.

In a similar way, MAFACT has helped Chen to realize his dream of “being part of the game” in the auto industry.

Chen grew up in a small town of Jiangsu Province, where people got around on bicycles, not cars.

As a teenager, he listened to Voice of America radio programs, where he was intrigued by descriptions of America as a “country on wheels.” Chen also had access to automobile magazines from his school library, where his father was a teacher. He earned an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering and worked for two years in the chemical industry, but gave that up because he “loved automotive.”

“At Magna, we are delivering safety parts that help human beings,” Chen said. “MAFACT is a tool that helps us deliver better quality parts. MAFACT also brings Magna together, not only by appearance or slogans. We are sharing best practices, competing with each other and rewarding good performers. MAFACT brings this culture together.”

Inspiring and Encouraging Employees

When Jingjia Chen was hired as a shop-floor worker at Magna’s Mechatronics Kunshan plant in 2016, his job was to put together two simple parts. Chen quickly embraced the MAFACT guidelines and became dedicated to world-class manufacturing, an attitude that would have positive results for his career and family.

Using the principles of MAFACT, Chen figured out four manufacturing improvements that led to more efficient jobs. Just two years later, he was promoted to line leader and now manages 33 people on the plant’s line that supplies premium parts to BMW and Daimler. Today the line, which produces 6,000 parts per shift, is held up as a model of efficiency and quality for the plant.

“I wanted to grow and MAFACT helped me to do that,” Chen said. “I consider myself to be an introvert, but MAFACT taught me to be a communicator. I feel comfortable talking with people from different teams.”

Because of employees like Chen, the Kunshan plant received the “excellence” award for implementing MAFACT throughout Mechatronics/Mirrors in China in 2020.

Sandy Cao, the Kunshan production manager and Chen’s manager, said MAFACT continues to be a vital part of training for all employees.

“MAFACT inspires and encourages line workers to improve the process,” Cao said. “Every new employee receives training from the plant’s MAFACT specialist. After training, everything the employee does connects back to MAFACT. Once employees understand MAFACT, they have a better chance at promotions.”

He adds: “The new version of MAFACT with the digitalized toolkit is even more practical and will improve efficiency even more.”

In the meantime, Chen’s managers say he has “great potential” for more career advancement. His promotion to line leader enabled him to buy his first apartment, a big step for his family, including daughter Ruoxue, 6, and son Shuoran, 3.

“After five years with the company, I have to credit MAFACT for supporting and guiding me through my job every day,” Chen said.

A Badge of Success

Everyone at Magna’s Mechatronics Kunshan plant wears a badge that contains their employee ID and a handy reference guide to MAFACT and world-class manufacturing.

“You can take the card out any time and look at the Magna priorities,” explained Vito Sun, the plant’s quality engineer. “It helps you understand lean manufacturing and how it all comes together. MAFACT is a guide for quick responses to issues.”

A recent example: A team at Kunshan discovered a noise issue with a door-latch module. The latch made a noise locking and unlocking. The challenge was to collect the defective parts and compare them to past products that met quality standards.

“MAFACT has a process and a structure in place to solve problems,” Sun said. “It sets us up for long-term, consistent quality. With MAFACT, people won’t forget the solution and it prevents problems in the future. We know how to do the right things at the right time with the right people.”

MAFACT’s digital platform has greatly improved cost control and work efficiency, since there is no duplication of paperwork, Sun noted.

In fact, Sun sometimes finds himself applying the principles of MAFACT to his family life.

“Sometimes I talk to my 4-year-old son Steven about continuous improvement,” Sun said. “If he makes a mistake, such as not lining up with the rest of the kindergarteners at school, I tell him to take ‘preventive action.’ I don’t know if he completely understands, but sometimes he will tell me, ‘Father, you did something without any results!’”

Quality Lessons from Mom

When 21-year-old Patrick Marzan started working as a production operator at Magna’s Mississauga Seating plant in June 2020, he had a question for a quality engineer who also happened to be his mother.

“What is MAFACT?” he asked.

“They are guidelines on how to be successful in business,” explained Rosemarie Marzan as she watched her son learn how to build seating systems for the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus. “Make sure you follow the proper steps when you install a part. It must be a good quality 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, our customers will be happy. Happy customers mean happy employees – and vice versa. When the customer is happy with our quality performance, we would be a supplier of choice for future business. MAFACT is also about training and communication. We explain the benefits and our employees understand the expectations.”

As a direct result of MAFACT, Mississauga Seating has become a quality leader. The plant won a Magna Excellence for Quality Award for reporting zero defects in 2020, an achievement for a facility that builds up to 250,000 complete seating systems a year. It also won J.D. Power Seat Quality and Satisfaction awards in 2017 and 2018.

As a longtime quality engineer, Rosemarie Marzan applauds the revised MAFACT operational principles that were rolled out earlier this year. While tougher, they promise to help Magna become even more responsive to the quality requirements of its OEM customers.

“With the help of MAFACT guidelines, it’s very easy for me to provide information to our customer because we are always prepared and continually improving”, she said. “We are successful because top management is supportive of and involved in the MAFACT changes. As a result, employees embrace them.”

Quality has been the centerpiece of Marzan’s career ever since she graduated in 1989 with a degree in electronics and computer engineering from Adamson University in Manila, Philippines. After working as a quality supervisor for a German semiconductor company in the 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 basketball games. Her son Matthew, 19, is a shooting guard for the Inter-City Saints of the Ontario Basketball 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 the stands and cheer.”

In the meantime, Patrick Marzan has returned to Seneca College and his studies to become a chemical lab technician after a six-month stint working at Magna and learning the MAFACT rules. His mother knows the quality lessons he learned on the line will serve him well in his personal life and his future career.

Mississauga Seating:

‘The Never-Ending Pursuit of Perfection’

The 400 employees at Magna’s Mississauga Assembly facility are tasked with building “the most visible part of a car’s interior,” said Mike Magri, the plant’s general manager.

“Seating systems have enormous complexity,” Magri said. “They are built with airbags on the outboard sides, some have massage features, and there are a lot of potential fit issues, including wrinkles or gaps in the material.”

The plant supplies complete seating systems for Ford’s Oakville Assembly Complex in Ontario, Canada.

Fortunately, the majority of employees have worked here since the inception of MAFACT, which Magri said “guides us to a never- ending pursuit of perfection when it comes to world-class manufacturing. It’s about never settling and constantly evolving.”

He adds: “Our culture understands the need to be competitive in quality and cost. Those are givens today. Our people embrace ongoing improvement in order to protect their jobs. MAFACT helps us provide the tools for success.”

Mississauga Seating ranks among the top performers globally in MAFACT scores, with a reputation for operational excellence.

The latest, more stringent version of MAFACT “moves the goalpost again,” Magri noted. The division’s scores dropped in MAFACT beta testing, spurring employees to tackle the increased requirements.

“We understand where the gaps are,” said Magri. “We know our number will jump.”

The 25-year Magna veteran learned early lessons in quality and efficiency when he was running injection-molding machines on the midnight shift when he was 15. He grew up in Windsor, Ontario, where his dad owned a small shop that made auto parts.

“My dad taught me that you lose money when you aren’t producing good parts,” Magri said.

Another important lesson: shop-floor employees are the key to quality and safety improvements in a plant.

“If this was a hospital, our direct-labor employees are the surgeons,” Magri said. “We are the administrative support. We provide the tools. MAFACT covers it all.”