General Motors South Africa (GMSA) assembly workers spent the first two weeks of December undergoing training at the Eastcape Training Centre (ETC) in Port Elizabeth.

The 520 employees who work at the Port Elizabeth Struandale Assembly Plant where the company builds the Isuzu KB, Chevrolet Utility, and Chevrolet Spark undertook training focused on the company’s Global Manufacturing System (GMS).

The plant is currently shuttered for an early Christman holiday break and will begin production of the redesigned Isuzu KB pickup truck when it starts up in the second week of January.

The training which is facilitated by GM South Africa in conjunction with the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education Training Authority (MERSETA), and the National Union of Metal Workers (NUMSA), covers key aspects of GMS which is the production system used by GM plants globally. Topics covered include health & safety, built in quality, housekeeping, preventative maintenance, workplace organisation and environment issues.

“We took advantage of the early shutdown, with assistance from MERSETA and with full involvement of NUMSA, to train employees on key elements of GMS which is a critical component of the build-up to the launch of the sixth generation of the Isuzu KB. It is not often that we have the opportunity to spend 10 consecutive days on training with production employees and already we are seeing the benefit of pursuing this project” said GMSA training and organisational development manager Wayne Osborne.

“Skills development is a key requirement in ensuring that we have a successful launch of the new Isuzu KB. We have already built a number of pre-production units which are in essence practice units to allow us to perfect the assembly process before we build the first unit to be shipped to customers early in 2013,” said Michael Pearton, GMSA manufacturing chief.