Kenworth Chillicothe Assembly Plant Captures Two NAM Manufacturing Leadership Awards

The Kenworth Chillicothe (Ohio) assembly plant recently received two prestigious 2020 Manufacturing Leadership Awards in the Operational Excellence category for its successful SMART Tool Error Proofing System and Cab Trim Finish Line projects. The awards were presented by the Manufacturing Leadership Council of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

The SMART Tool Error Proofing System project implemented a process verification system that further enhanced torque-tightening quality and increased efficiency by automating the tightening process throughout the plant. 

The Kenworth Chillicothe team used Design for Six Sigma methodologies and a collaborative effort with its partner ARC Solutions Technology. The team designed custom software adapters capable of removing error from the fastening process using the existing Kenworth infrastructure. 

Direct Current (DC) tools now are used in tandem with process verification to scan a chassis, pull the chassis specifications and populate the recipe of sockets, torque numbers and bolt locations needed for the operator to tighten the fasteners. The collaboration resulted in a system that increases repeatability and reduces the opportunity for incorrect variation by automating the decision-making requirements for each chassis.  

The Cab Trim Finish Line project was undertaken to ensure first time right quality. The addition of a finish line at the end of Cab Trim and prior to the cab being set on the chassis enables enhanced functional and quality verifications on the Kenworth T680, T880 and W990 models.

The Chillicothe team held extensive workshops to develop a plan for best use of the available space, and used Six Sigma and Project Management tools to meet the high quality expectations for cabs, sleepers and hoods leaving the department. 

The plant’s rearrangement began in the second quarter of 2019 and the new Cab Trim Finish Line began providing benefits to the plant in September. The trim, paint, material handling and the mainline departments achieved significant enhancements in safety, quality, cost and delivery as a result of this project.

“These two prestigious NAM Manufacturing Leadership awards for operational excellence are a special tribute to the employees at Kenworth Chillicothe. All of our employees are dedicated to achieving enhanced quality and productivity with the goal of providing The World’s Best trucks to our customers,” said Judy McTigue, Kenworth assistant general manager for operations.

Our manufacturing engineering and quality teams constantly explore and implement continuous initiatives to our world class manufacturing processes. The goal is to deliver an even better Kenworth truck that will provide years of productive service for fleets and truck operators,” said Rod Spencer, Kenworth Chillicothe plant manager.

Kenworth’s plants in Chillicothe, Ohio, and Renton, Wash., both have earned the prestigious International Standards Organization (ISO) 14001:2015 certification for effective environmental management systems established to help build Class 8 trucks in an environmentally sustainable manner. Kenworth’s medium duty products are produced at the PACCAR Ste. Thérèse, Quebec, manufacturing facility, which also holds ISO 14001:2015 status.

About the National Association of Manufacturers

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information visit


At far right, Kevin Baney, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president, presents the keys – and a plaque signifying the delivery of the first production T680 Next Gen – to Scott Reed, Werner Enterprises senior vice president of equipment purchasing and maintenance. From far left are Corey Murphy, vice president of MHC Kenworth Iowa/Nebraska/Illinois, representing selling dealer MHC Kenworth – Omaha; and Tony Wahl, Werner Enterprises director of equipment purchasing.

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