July 15, 2024
Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant road-tests a new quality strategy

Kentucky Truck added 300 quality inspectors, and more engineers to chase down the root causes of defects and design new digital tools for catching problems before trucks rolled off the end of the line.

Workers now use a camera to feed images of electrical connections to software that can determine whether the connectors are properly connected. 

Around the plant, engineers built command centers with more big screens than many sports bars, all displaying data from different assembly stations. One command center, with 16 screens, is known as Claire’s Corner because it was designed by process engineering manager Claire Yarmak. 

“The complexity of this vehicle is huge,” Yarmak said. New comfort features, such as a front seat that reclines to create a sleeping bed, create new opportunities for trouble. When a sensor hooked into Yarmak’s screens detected a defective sensor in the sleeper seat, the line stopped.

Instead of test-driving a small sample of trucks to check for squeaks, rattles or infotainment system glitches – problems that take down scores on external quality surveys – Kentucky Truck deployed workers to drive 28,000 of the first new-generation Super Duties along a 25-mile route near the factory.

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