More and more U.S, carmakers run their plant 24 hours a day by adding a 3rd shift, reports Bloomberg. U.S. auto plants are estimated to run at 81 percent capacity, up from 49 percent in 2009, IHS Automotive says. In the business, capacity utilization above 80 percent is considered good, anything lower is thought to be an invitation to disaster.
Running three shifts a day also is considered dangerous. Repairs have to be neglected or postponed. Quality sinks. To avoid this, and to adapt output to demand, carmakers devise more flexible solutions. Bloomberg explains:
“Rather than running round-the-clock into a full third shift, Chrysler and Ford are adding so-called third crews, which rotate in groups of additional workers during less-busy times of the day and evening and on weekends to allow the plants to operate more hours weekly. Ford will have four plants in Kentucky, Michigan, and Illinois on the three-crew system within the next year, meaning those plants will run about 120 hours out of the 168 possible, instead of the 100 hours for a two-shift run.”