New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI) is a vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, California. NUMMI began operations in 1984 as ajoint venture of General Motors Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation. In 1995, NUMMI produced 94,280 Geo Prizms, 135,112 Toyota Corollas, and 123,257 Toyota Tacoma trucks. NUMMI conducts its manufacturing operations using the Toyota Production System (TPS). A key element of TPS is the elimination of waste. This includes wasted energy, space, labor, and production materials. Waste reduction, i.e., source reduction, is part of NUMMI's corporate culture and every team member is encouraged to continuously seek out new waste reduction opportunities. NUMMI's management believes that the team members who actually do the work are the people most effective in reducing waste. To motivate team members to aggressively seek out waste reduction opportunities, NUMMI has a very liberal and generous suggestion program. Each year millions of dollars are saved by adopting team member suggestions. Management's responsibility is to work with the team members to develop and implement ideas for reducing waste. Management supports the team members with the technical and financial resources necessary to successfully implement a waste reduction project. Waste reduction projects are often classic examples of labor-management teamwork in problem solving, and process improvement. Last year NUMMI and California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), San Luis Obispo, conducted a joint waste reduction study. Graduate and upper division environmental engineering students came to NUMMI to evaluate certain waste producing operations for possible reductions. The students prepared detailed analyses of the operations and suggested ways to reduce waste. The project is now at the stage where NUMMI team members and management are reviewing the suggestions for implementation. This paper will discuss ongoing waste reduction and recycling activities at NUMMI and the preliminary results of the Cal Poly student project.
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