Mike Tornatore (Student): Today we visited Continental AG located in Guadalajara, Mexico. We learned that they are currently third in the world for the supply of automotive parts. They merged with Siemens VDO Guadalajara in 2007 after retaining all of the workers from their respective production lines. This was an impressive acquisition, allowing Continental to minimize training costs and utilize all of the Siemens technology on the premises. This particular branch of Continental is built to produce many different CPU units for a wide range of applications for anything from automated driving systems to fuel injection and air to fuel mix control. They also produce power train systems such as sensors, transmission/hydraulic actuators. Last but definitely not least, ten minutes down the road is their R&D facility where they pump out innovative ideas daily that keep Continental AG a leader in the auto industry.
After our group dressed in full suits that protected Continentals’ production components from static electricity, we started the tour. Throughout the tour we were shown how many of their electrical components are put together. Hundreds of machines were at work, soldering tiny components to empty computer wafers moving faster than the eye can see. It was amazing to see how clean they kept the whole factory. While we were on our tour, many young men even wiped the light bulbs to clear them of dust.
We also saw how close the workforce was; we walked by a cafeteria where many workers mingled as they ate lunch, talking about their families or how their weekend faired. Continental stays on top of their goals. This was portrayed by a board outside the locker rooms of the employees. On the board were five areas of operation where improvement was needed. Atop each area of concern was a yellow light or green, letting an onlooker know what areas still needed attention. Some of the concerns where decreasing on location accidents, improving cycle time, decreasing customer order lag, or even financial discrepancies. It was an insightful and interesting experience. A big thanks to Continental AG GDL.
Unfortunately cameras were not allowed.