Ford’s Camaçari Plant in Brazil

photo of Fords' Camacari plant in Brazil

Brazil’s Camaçari plant is model for the future

This state-of-the-art manufacturing complex in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia is not only the centerpiece of Ford’s Brazilian turnaround plan, it is also one of the most advanced automobile plants in the world. It is more automated than many of Ford’s U.S. factories, and leaner and more flexible than any other Ford facility. It can produce five different vehicle platforms at the same time and on the same line.

At Camaçari, more than two dozen suppliers operate right inside the Ford complex, in many cases producing components alongside Ford’s main production line. Having those supplier operations on-site allows Ford to take the concept of just-in-time manufacturing to a whole new level. Inventories are kept to a bare minimum, or dispensed with entirely. Components such as dashboard assemblies flow directly into the main Ford assembly line at the precise point and time they are needed.

Unlike many U.S. auto plants, where workers’ responsibilities are strictly limited to specific job classifications, workers like Silva dos Santos are encouraged to learn as many different skills as possible.

Here is an interesting video [the broken link was removed] on the plant. It is sad how poor management at GM, Ford and Chrysler has created such a bad situation for those working at those companies, their suppliers, the communities that support their production… GM and Ford had the advice they needed to succeed from Deming in the 1980’s but they chose to focus on the short term, large executive payments, accounting gimmicks instead of continual improvement…

They each have improved over the years, but the standard is not just improving but doing so effectively and enough and they failed at that. The UAW shares some responsibility for failing to successfully lead their workers to a promising future but management is much more responsible for the failure in my opinion (the video and article try to say Ford wants to be innovative in the USA but the UAW won’t let them). It is management’s jobs to focus the organization on cooperation and success for all stakeholders. When management is more concerned with getting themselves huge payoffs (from the pockets of the other stakeholders) and then try to blame one of those other stakeholders for fighting management is disingenuous. Executive’s contempt for other stakeholders leads to the other stakeholders feeling that they should be just as greedy as management.

Related: Ford’s Wrong TurnFord and Managing the Supplier RelationshipGlobal Manufacturing Data 2007Toyota’s New Texas PlantWomack Podcast on GMVW Phaeton Manufacturing plant


What a non-surprise Ford’s media site is pointy hair boss like. Their list of facilities does not include this Camacari plant. Want to browse videos or photos – you have to register first. How silly can a pointy haired boss be? Maybe Ford will blame this phb behavior on the UAW too? 1 plant in South America had actual content the rest, stuff like this:

Current Total Employment: Updated Information Pending
Hourly: Updated information pending
Salaried: Updated information pending

3 thoughts on “Ford’s Camaçari Plant in Brazil

  1. Fascinating plant of the future.

    Can we take features and give them to our present plant. Probably too expensive today to build a new plant.

    Reply
  2. John,

    Ford HAS been trying to get plants like this in the US, and it IS the UAW that blocks them. It is not only the lower paid jobs the UAW is worried about, with this new and better concept, Ford would have fewer humans on the line and more robotics, and the UAW is not going to let that happen. So not only does Detroit pay more per hour for a worker, but they also have more workers on the assembly line than what is needed, so their per hour costs is higher and they have more hours to pay. Ford can only do so much with out the UAW going on strike.

    Reply
  3. Unions are a problem – for sure – but the real reason manufacturing left the US is because the US Government made it so by signing the GAT and NAFTA treaties. This manufacturing epidemic is happenning by design, on purpose, perpetrated by our world leaders. Wake up people! As an experience automation engineer i can assure you that it takes way more people and jobs to build and run one these factories than evening news is telling you about… on purpose! Wake up!

    Reply

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