Wednesday, August 18, 1999 Published at 06:30 GMT 07:30 UK
Business: The Company File
Nissan's efficiency drive rewarded
The Sunderland plant uses Japanese assembly techniques
Nissan's factory in Sunderland has been named Europe's most productive car plant for the third year running.
Last year it made 105 cars for each employee, up from 98 the previous year, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's annual audit of passenger car production.
"It's not a case of making people work harder," Nissan UK's head, John Cushnaghan, told the BBC.
Success at the Sunderland plant, which has a total of 4,200 employees, reflects continuous improvement using assembly techniques employed in Japan, the EIU said.
However, profitability at Nissan's UK manufacturing operations fell 70% last year to £23m, mostly due to the strength of sterling.
The results for other UK plants were:
The report said productivity at Longbridge was poor, but was "exacerbated by refurbishment of the plant at a time when demand was falling sharply".
More emphasis on training
The GM plant was not operating to capacity and its productivity was "limited by insufficient demand for its models", said the survey.
Overall productivity in Europe's car plants rose to an average 52 cars per employee last year from 47 in 1997.
"Cars are being made on a reduced number of platforms, with fewer 'building blocks' and this, along with a much greater emphasis on training and new flexible work practices, is enhancing Europe's productivity," said the report.
The Company File Contents