LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Work smarter, not harder, right? Many times that is easier said than done, but a quick visit to Water Repair in Pre-Delivery shows that is the practice, not the exception.
At Kentucky Truck Plant (KTP), you will find Sam Fleming, a 37 year Ford employee, who has worked at both Louisville plants. Fleming’s work centers on finding any sources of water leaks and repairing them, moving the vehicles out as quickly as possible while also ensuring quality.
Years ago, Fleming first developed a tool that tests door locks, a tool that is still in use today at KTP.
With a previous engine model, Fleming found a power steering failure due to the line not being seated correctly. To correct the issue with the line, the entire front end of the vehicle had to be dismantled, which was a 4 hour process.
“Moving vehicles is so important to everyone here,” said Fleming. “I just created a tool that helped me do that quicker.”
Fleming’s solution was a custom molded metal tool that allowed him to reach down, pull the power steering line up and seat it correctly.
Now working in Water Repair, Fleming is applying his knowledge of truck building, his time at Ford, and his creativity to create tools that allow him to do his job better and faster.
Most recently, Fleming encountered an issue with a rear window leak in the Expedition and Navigator units. The repair of the leak previously required disassembling the window and removing it. Fleming created a clamping tool where he could easily slide it under the headliner, properly seal the glass flush against the frame, and the leak was repaired all without any damage to the headliner or glass. The process to repair this leak prior to Fleming creating the tool, was estimated to take approximately 3 hours, but has now been reduced to seconds.
With regards to the Super Duty trucks, Fleming would occasionally run into an issue with the air extractors and the rubber seal around them. Should the rubber seal not seat properly, it would cause a water leak in the vehicle interior and to repair this, the entire bed of the truck would have to be removed. More times than not, the air extractor would also be replaced entirely. Realizing how the air extractors were installed, Fleming created a tool that would allow him to apply heat to the extractor which would seat it correctly against the back of the cab, fixing the water leak. A repair process that previously required 20 – 30 minutes was reduced to seconds. And as with the previous issue, no parts were damaged, and in many cases, the original part was still able to be used.
Fleming has more tricks up his sleeve, including several tools that he has modified and used to help him through the course of the day to do his job faster and most importantly, not damage any of the vehicles.
All of the tools that Fleming created were a direct result of the constant troubleshooting and problem solving work he handles on a daily basis. Under his own initiative and creativity, Fleming developed these tools at his home on his personal time, testing them and improving them until they were ready to be implemented into his daily routine.
Having such a positive impact on areas such as cost, quality, and delivery, it was this constant innovation and creativity which resulted in Fleming’s recognition in the July Vehicle Quality Review (VQR) by John Savona, Director of Manufacturing.
The issues that Fleming runs into are constantly documented and evaluated, so that the process can be reviewed and improved, resulting in a higher quality product.
“I just really enjoy fixing the issues I run into as quickly as possible,” said Fleming. “I love what I do!”
By Jason Morrison