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2 Autoliv facilities in Utah honored by USU

Two of Autoliv Inc.'s Utah facilities have earned a 2003 Shingo Price for Excellence in Manufacturing.

The Swedish automotive safety company said Tuesday that its air-bag module facility in Ogden and the air-bag inflator facilities group have earned the honor, which is presented by Utah State University's College of Business.

The Shingo Prize is awarded to companies that have demonstrated achievements in manufacturing processes, quality enhancements, productivity improvement and customer satisfaction. The prize focuses on lean manufacturing techniques and promotes world-class business performance through continuous improvements in core manufacturing and business processes.

The honor, called by Business Week "the Nobel prize of manufacturing," is open to manufacturers in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

"Our employees have worked tirelessly to implement lean manufacturing principles into all areas of our business," said Lars Westerberg, Autoliv's president and chief executive officer. "Having two of our sites honored with this elite prize is further evidence of our commitment to continuously set new standards in world-class manufacturing."

The module facility produces driver-side, passenger-side, side-impact, knee and side-curtain air bags for customers in the North American and Asian markets. The facility has reduced cycle times by more than 50 percent, boosted labor productivity by more than 50 percent, increased inventory turns by 80 percent and reduced lead times by more than 55 percent.

The air-bag inflator facilities group consists of the Ogden inflator facility, the Brigham City inflator facility and the administration and engineering facility. They design, support and produce more than 30 million driver, passenger and side-impact inflation products annually.

The company said that applying lean manufacturing principles has resulted in a 52 percent reduction in scrap costs, a 32 percent drop in parts per million and a productivity improvement of 36 percent. "Its successful implementation of continuous improvement techniques yielded over 12,000 improvement suggestions last year alone," the company said in a prepared statement.

Autoliv has 80 facilities and more than 30,000 employees in 30 vehicle-producing countries. It also has nine technical centers, including 20 test tracks. Sales last year totaled $4.4 billion.