General Cable’s Altoona, Pennslyvania and Piedras Negras, Mexico Manufacturing Facilities Receive INDUSTRYWEEK’s Best Plants Award

Thursday, Jan 07, 2010
Two General Cable manufacturing facilities have been named as winners in IndustryWeek’s 2009 Best Plants Competition. General Cable’s Altoona, Pennsylvania manufacturing facility, which produces ignition wire sets, and Piedras Negras, Mexico, which manufactures Original Equipment Manufactures’ (OEM) wire harnesses, have been selected by Penton Media’s IndustryWeek magazine, the leading publication among senior manufacturing executives, as two of the 10 Best Plants in North America. IndustryWeek’s Best Plants Award Program, which started 20 years ago, is an annual salute to outstanding manufacturing facilities that are on the leading edge of efforts to increase competitiveness, enhance customer satisfaction, and create stimulating and rewarding work environments.

The IndustryWeek Best Plants program is an annual celebration of world-class manufacturing and continuous improvement practices, and demonstrates that manufacturing excellence continues to flourish across North America. In addition to the operational efficiency of the 10 factories chosen as ‘best plants,’ these facilities share the common trait of an unending pursuit of excellence, recognizing they can’t be leaders in their industries without their employees’ support and they are aligned in a mission of successfully tackling the challenges of being 21st century North American manufacturers.

In comments about the IndustryWeek Best Plants winners, who are featured in the January 2010 issue of IndustryWeek, Senior Editor, Jill Jusko, states, “The 2009 class of IndustryWeek’s Best Plants winners embodies the types of facilities we like to celebrate: committed to excellence and driven to get better every single day. IndustryWeek applauds these high-achievers.”

General Cable’s Piedras Negras plant will receive a commemorative award during ceremonies scheduled for January 13, 2010. This honor recognizes the plant’s world-class manufacturing capabilities and its commitment to continuous improvement. Its empowered workforce is the foundation for its success.

General Cable’s Altoona plant will celebrate with an award ceremony on January 26, 2010. This is the second time the manufacturing facility has earned the Best Plant distinction — the first time was in 2003. Jusko commented, “This plant has met the toughest challenges of manufacturing excellence — continuing to achieve high levels of excellence. As anyone engaged in continuous improvement can attest, pursuing excellence is one challenge, and maintaining it is quite another.”

Competing plants reported management practices and plant performance in such areas as: quality; customer and supplier relations; employee involvement; productivity; cost reductions; manufacturing flexibility and responsiveness; inventory management; environmental and safety performance; and market results. The top 10 selected winners report some astounding manufacturing achievements in these areas.

“General Cable is once again pleased to receive this award from IndustryWeek in recognition of our manufacturing excellence,” said Greg Lampert, President and Chief Executive Officer of General Cable North America. “We use the IndustryWeek competition as a benchmark for comparing our manufacturing performance against the best in North America. I would like to commend Mark Thackeray, General Cable’s Senior Vice President of North American Operations; Tim Wampler, Vice President, Manufacturing and Team Leader, Communications and Assembly Plants; Ken Smith, Altoona Plant Manager; German Zavala, Piedras Negras Plant Manager; and their respective teams, for setting demanding goals and providing the work environment for our associates to achieve them.”

“Lean Manufacturing, combined with Six Sigma quality improvement tools, continues to drive major improvements in all our manufacturing operations,” added Mark Thackeray, Senior Vice President, North American Operations. “Our strategy to achieve manufacturing excellence has made General Cable a much stronger company today, despite a tough economy. Lean Thinking is part of our culture of continuous improvement, along with the engagement and contribution of our associates—something we call ‘OLPC’ or Operator-Led Process Control. The Altoona and Piedras Negras plants are both operating very close to our ideal vision of OLPC.”

“Since 2001, General Cable has had eight plants selected as finalists in the Best Plants competition. Six of those plants have gone on to achieve the title of one of the Top 10 Plants in North America — one of them twice,” continued Thackeray. “They are Altoona, Pennsylvania, USA, in 2003 and now in 2009; Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico in 2009; Manchester, New Hampshire, USA in 2008; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, in 2007; Tetla, Tlaxcala, Mexico, in 2006; and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, in 2005. This achievement recognizes our Company’s world-class manufacturing capabilities, as well as the mindset of continuous improvement shared by all General Cable associates worldwide.”

“Our associates come to work committed to make things better every day,” said Tim Wampler, Vice President and Team Leader, Communications and Assembly Plants. “This award recognizes the hard work and dedication of all the associates at Altoona and Piedras Negras. We are very proud of our accomplishments and to be recognized with this prestigious IndustryWeek Best Plants Award.”

“Our team has embraced Lean manufacturing for many years, which has allowed us to continually adapt, and quickly and successfully respond to challenges, be it with new customers or new products,” concluded Roger Roundhouse, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Specialty Wire Harnesses. “With savvy market moves and a commitment of continuous improvement, our wire harness assembly plants are successful in the global marketplace where they compete.”

The complete list of winners and in-depth profiles on General Cable’s Altoona and Piedras Negras plants can be found at

General Cable (NYSE: BGC), a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Highland Heights, Kentucky, is a leader in the development, design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of copper, aluminum and fiber optic wire and cable products for the energy, industrial, specialty and communications markets. Energy cables include low-, medium- and high-voltage power distribution and power transmission products. The Industrial and Specialty segment is comprised of application-specific cables for uses such as electrical power generation (traditional fuels, alternative and renewable sources, and distributed generation), the oil, gas and petrochemical industries, mining, industrial automation, marine, military and aerospace applications, power applications in the telecommunications industry, and other key industrial segments. Communications wire and cable products transmit low-voltage signals for voice, data, video and control applications. General Cable, with annual revenues approaching $6 billion, has 43 manufacturing facilities in 21 countries and offers competitive strengths in such areas as breadth of product line, brand recognition, distribution and logistics, sales and service and operating efficiency. Visit our website at