DUNDEE - The Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) facility, which makes engines for Chrysler vehicles, has been awarded the 2007-2008 Shingo Silver Medallion for operational excellence.

Called the "Nobel Prize of manufacturing," the Shingo award recognizes business excellence in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The philosophy of the Shingo Prize is that world-class performance for quality, cost and delivery can be achieved through lean principles and techniques in core manufacturing and business processes.

"We are pleased to have been recognized by the Shingo Award organization for our GEMA plant," said Richard Chow-Wah, vice president - manufacturing for Chrysler LLC and a member of the GEMA board of directors. "At GEMA, our mission is clear - to set the pace in engine manufacturing with cutting-edge people, processes, systems and technologies. This award is further confirmation that we are accomplishing that mission," he said.

The Michigan GEMA facility is the only automotive manufacturer to receive a Shingo award in 2007.

"Our success starts with great people, and the Shingo Silver Medallion is a tribute to the commitment and hard work of our GEMA team members who make our Michigan facility one of the finest manufacturing operations in the world," said Bruce Coventry, GEMA president.

"At the same time, in the spirit of continuous improvement we recognize there are many opportunities in our processes. We understand that manufacturing excellence is a never-ending journey, not a final destination.

The GEMA plant in Dundee, opened in fall, 2005, produces 1.8-, 2.0- and 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated engines for Dodge Caliber, Avenger and the new Journey, Jeep Compass and Patriot, and the Chrysler Sebring sedan and convertible.

In addition, the plant produces a 2.4-liter, turbocharged, gasoline-powered, aluminum four-cylinder engine with four valves per cylinder and dual variable valve timing for Dodge Caliber SRT-4. The GEMA plants also machine and assemble cylinder blocks (aluminum), cylinder heads (aluminum), and crankshafts (steel).

"We stay focused on the core business - to manufacture and assemble best-in-class engines, with high quality and great affordability," said Bruce Baumbach, GEMA plant manager. "That means we rely on our service providers to give us the expertise we need to accomplish that task. The knowledge and experience of each of our team members is critical to our success."

GEMA is part of a global venture that includes Chrysler, Hyundai Motor Co., and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

All GEMA facilities use a unique business model with lean manufacturing principles and innovative operating patterns to achieve world-class efficiencies.

"We congratulate this year's recipients in expanding their lean focus to all their business processes," the Shingo committee said in announcing the awards. "This year's recipients have demonstrated various best practices in world-class processes and have achieved outstanding results delivering high quality, competitive cost and high customer satisfaction."

The Shingo awards will be presented during the 20th Annual Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence Conference in Dallas, Texas, March 31 to April 3.

The Shingo awards are managed by the Utah State University College of Business.