Navistar's Annual Quality Awards: Being A Differentiating Factor

By Jim Jesionowski, Vice President, Quality

Last month, Navistar held our annual Chairman’s Quality Awards competition, in which employees representing virtually every function at the company submit entries showcasing how they have improved quality. Every year, I am inspired by the entries we receive, and this year was no exception.

The most visible aspect of quality is product quality. My vision is for Navistar’s products to be distinguished in the marketplace for their exceptional quality. We want to be a company that places customers at the center of everything we do; and to get there, our quality must be a differentiating factor. And it’s apparent from looking at the projects that were submitted by our employees that this doesn’t just happen by itself. It takes creativity and new ideas – and a team of dedicated people, working every day to make something better.

This is one of our company values at Navistar – better every day – and this year’s quality awards demonstrate that our employees are living this. While we had to pick three finalists, and then a winner, for the awards, it was not an easy task. I see passion behind each and every one of the projects that were submitted, and that passion is contagious across Navistar.

The entries we received this year go beyond product quality alone. They demonstrate what happens when employees use data and analytics to solve complex problems; when they aren’t happy with the status quo, and look for a creative solution; when we put the customer first and work toward making their business better; and, when employees collaborate across functions, and in the case of our winning team, across borders.

This year’s winning team developed a solution to the supplier constraints that Navistar, and the entire commercial truck industry, faced during the summer of 2018. These supplier shortages resulted in some lost production, trucks missing parts, late deliveries and excess overtime – and a lot of offline units.

This team, with members at both our Escobedo, Mexico Assembly Plant and our Lisle, Ill., headquarters, developed a plan to quickly reduce offline inventory and keep dealers and customers informed – and they did it all with no impact to product quality. This is an impressive accomplishment, and just one of the many examples I see every day of Navistar employees working together to solve complex problems and make us better.

In addition to celebrating the great accomplishments of our employees, our annual Chairman’s Quality Award also allows us to give back to our community.  To demonstrate Navistar’s commitment to supporting the next generation of engineers, the winning team had the opportunity to present a $5,000 check to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) charity of their choice. This year’s team selected the DuPage Children’s Museum, located near our Lisle headquarters, which provides STEM learning opportunities to our community’s youngest learners.

As we wrap up this year’s award season, I am inspired by the hard work going on across Navistar – work that helps us on our journey to achieve differentiating quality in our products.  I’m already looking forward to seeing the great things our employees will do for next year’s award!