Autoliv Inc. has added its two facilities located in Querétaro, Mexico, to its family of award-winning manufacturing facilities. These facilities have been recognized with the 2006 Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing, Region Centro de Mexico.

Autoliv Steering Wheels Mexico (AWM) produces leather-wrapped steering wheels and airbag modules, while Autoliv Components Mexico (CMX) manufactures airbag cushions.

The Shingo Prize is awarded annually to select companies that have demonstrated outstanding achievements in manufacturing processes, quality enhancements, productivity improvement, and customer satisfaction. The prize focuses on lean manufacturing techniques and promotes world-class business performance through continuous improvements in core manufacturing and business processes.

"Autoliv is honored once again in North America and for the first time in Mexico to be recognized with this award for its effective implementation of the lean manufacturing philosophy," said Lars Westerberg, president and CEO of Autoliv. "Of course, these principles of continuous improvement can only have the kind of remarkable results we have seen when combined with the dedication and commitment of our employees. Their teamwork has made it possible to consistently reach higher levels of world-class performance.”

The two facilities have demonstrated significant year-over-year improvements, including a 15 percent improvement in productivity, 18 percent improvement in inventory turns, customer quality improvement of 50 percent, scrap reduction of 25 percent and employee suggestion rate improvement of more than 60 percent.

In addition to the Shingo Award, the AWM facility recently received recognition from the Mexican Federal Government for its revolutionary program utilizing the special skills of physically handicapped workers in its leather-wrapping operations. This special team of workers known as the “AWM Angels” has set new standards of productivity within the AWM facility, setting new benchmarks for the rest of the AWM team.

Both facilities used the culture of continuous improvement known as the Autoliv Production System to drive the process improvements which qualified both plants for the Shingo Prize.

Autoliv Inc. develops and manufactures automotive safety systems for all major automotive manufacturers in the world. Together with its joint ventures Autoliv has 80 facilities with nearly 39,000 employees in 30 vehicle-producing countries. In addition, the company has development and engineering centers in six countries around the world, including 20 test tracks, more than any other automotive safety supplier.