Isuzu Philippines recently gave us a tour of its plant in Biñan, Laguna, to show why its locally-manufactured trucks, particularly the N-Series light-duty trucks, are the leader in their respective segments.
We were shown the amount of work that goes into making a truck from scratch and even had the opportunity to drive vehicles like the Crosswind and the N-Series trucks right out of the assembly line and around the test course.
That trip wouldn't be complete without us sharing a few things we've learned while at Isuzu's assembly area. Here are the five things you might not know about what goes on inside the Isuzu plant.
1. The day starts for all employees with what is known as the Radio Taiso, a form of radio calisthenics that originated in Japan before World War II. The exercise supposedly builds morale and camaraderie among the employees. Even Isuzu Philippines' Japanese executives join the exercise at least once a week.
2. The employees on the plant's floor wear color-coded hats that indicate the wearer's role in the assembly line--whether he or she is a skilled worker, a foreman (or forewoman?), or the head of one line of the assembly, well, line. This way, the line bosses and Isuzu Philippines' Japanese executives can tell at a single glance if one employee is missing from the line.
3. Isuzu Philippines' factory workers are skilled at building all of the plant's products, from the Crosswind to the D-Max to the N- and F-Series trucks. While the assembly line for the trucks are in continuous operation, the line for the Crosswind and D-Max sometimes alternate depending on the demand.
4. For the light commercial vehicle lines for the D-Max and the Crosswind, the maximum tact time--or the time a unit spends in a specific line--is up to 14 minutes. This means that a vehicle can spend only 14 minutes in the trim line, for example, for the installation of interior implements like carpets and seats. When demand for a particular vehicle is high, Isuzu Philippines can bring the tact time down to as fast as 10 minutes per unit. Of course, certain parts of the process like painting the vehicle takes a whole lot more than 15 minutes while for the trucks, the average tact time is 45 minutes per unit.
5. Isuzu Philippines' manufacturing facility can produce as many as 2,000 units of the D-Max annually. That, however, pales in comparison to the production capacity of Isuzu Thailand's two plants that can manufacture a total of up to 40,000 units per year.
As of this writing, Isuzu Philippines still can't give a definite date for the arrival of the all-new D-Max in the country. Sales division chief Joseph Bautista said Isuzu Thailand still has to take care of its market before it can start importing the much-awaited pickup truck to other countries.
"The all-new D-Max is really in demand in Thailand so Isuzu Thailand has to satisfy the demand of its market first before they can start manufacturing the D-Max for other countries," said Bautista.