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Missed the 2019 SAQS? Here’s Our Event Recap!


On March 4, 2019, AIAG and the Alabama Automotive Manufacturer’s Association (AAMA) cohosted the 2019 Southern Automotive Quality Summit in Birmingham, Alabama. Attended by nearly 150 people, this year’s event featured a strong lineup of speakers from Toyota, Honda, DENSO, the University of Alabama in Hunstville, and AIAG, discussing topics pertaining to the summit’s theme, “Engaging Your Workforce in Quality.”

Emily Lauder from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi opened the event by discussing Toyota’s challenges and successes in attracting and engaging employees. She shared several Toyota initiatives to attract and retain the current and next generation of automotive employees, including flexible work hours and employee engagement programs. Emily concluded her presentation by challenging everyone in the audience to address their “impossible.”

Following Emily’s presentation, Mike Clark from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama explained how Toyota’s Alabama Engine Plant uses their manufacturing and operational principles to engage their workforce through development, empowerment, communication and recognition. Mike also explained the role of Quality Circles and Kaizen groups when engaging their workforce.

The next speakers to take the stage were Nic Loyd and Jeff Siniard from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, who discussed “Quality Improvement Through Problem Solving and People Development.” The pair reviewed how they engage workforces in problem solving by presenting and explaining multiple case studies from various organizations using PDCA cycles, shop floor visits, and detailed problem descriptions.

In the final session before lunch, Dave Welch and Steven Hayes of DENSO North America shared how DENSO has implemented traceability in their system. Dave provided a background on traceability and Steven explained DENSO’s process for determining and implementing traceability on DENSO’s products.

After the midday break, AIAG’s Scott Gray along with Dave Dalby of Honda provided an update on the AIAG-VDA harmonized FMEA guideline, which is scheduled for release during Q2 of 2019.

As the afternoon progressed, John Cachat updated the audience on AIAG’s soon to be released Core Tools Support (CTS) software, sharing a proposed release date of March 2019. In addition to his presentation, John also provided demonstrations of AIAG’s CTS software throughout the event in the exhibit hall.

Concluding the summit, Amy Moffitt from Toyota North America shared how Toyota develops leaders in their organization to achieve ‘built in quality.’ Amy explained the role the Operations Management Development Division (OMDD) plays in promoting and developing the people and processes of the Toyota Production System. She also outlined Toyota’s principles for developing their workforce and demonstrated how Toyota utilizes these principles inside and outside of their work environment, as they share TPS tools with their supported philanthropic endeavors.

In addition to a fantastic speaker lineup, the event featured a full exhibit hall, along with ample opportunities for networking and making connections – including a fun reception at the end of the day.

Missed out on this year’s event? Check out our speakers’ presentations here. Also, to stay in the know about upcoming AIAG events – as well as new products, trainings and more – don’t forget to follow us on social media!