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03.07 Valeo wins A. T. Kearney Global Excellence of Operations Award for “Production Plant of

03.07

Valeo wins A. T. Kearney Global Excellence of Operations Award for “Production Plant of the Year”

Paris, France, February 27, 2003 - Valeo was today honored with the prestigious A. T. Kearney GEO Award “Production Plant of the Year”, in the category “Best Series Production”, at the Factory of the Year Congress, sponsored by Produktion magazine, held in Ludwigsberg, Germany.

The award was conferred on Valeo Wischersysteme GmbH, for its new automotive wiper systems manufacturing facility at Bietigheim, Germany, that supplies customers such as Audi, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, PSA Peugeot Citroën and Volkswagen.

During the Congress, the factors that had contributed to the award nomination and the benefits of the company’s 5 Axes methodology were highlighted: Involvement of Personnel; Valeo Production System; Supplier Integration; Constant Innovation and Total Quality.

At the heart of the 5 Axes methodology is the Valeo Production System (VPS). The system uses proven tools and methods, with specific objectives and quantifiable deliverables, aimed at improving the entire flow of the value chain and optimizing investment in state-of-the-art plant and equipment, production processes and the training and development of employees.

VPS is Valeo’s standardized production system that ensures all worldwide production facilities comply with the same rigorous standards of manufacturing excellence. The purpose-built Bietigheim facility, opened in 2002, has achieved excellent results across a broad range of key parameters including quality, productivity, supply chain management, employee commitment and environmental awareness.

Commenting on Valeo’s success, Thierry Morin, Chairman of Valeo’s Management Board said, “The GEO Award for Production Plant of the Year clearly illustrates the effectiveness of the Valeo 5 Axes methodology and its contribution to enhanced customer satisfaction. I wish to congratulate all employees at the Bietigheim facility for their hard work and dedication that has now been recognized by this Award – it’s a great achievement that we can all be proud of.”

The A. T. Kearney GEO Program is a global benchmarking and research initiative that recognizes global excellence in operations for manufacturing companies. The assessment framework employs over 300 benchmarks to measure the business performance of companies drawn from a wide range of industrial manufacturing sectors.

Valeo has long recognized the benefits of competing in the Global Excellence of Operations awards program. In 1999, the Valeo Wiper Systems plant at San Lois Potosi won a North American GEO award, and in the same year, Valeo Climate Control secured one of 14 Special Merit awards. The Valeo Friction Materials plant at Queretaro, Mexico, achieved a top five position from 100 participants in the finals of the 2001 North American Geo Awards. This achievement was reproduced when the Valeo Wiper Systems plant at Issoire, France, was also nominated as a finalist in the same year – this time for a European GEO award. On each occasion the 5 Axes methodology was cited as the key driving force for improving Valeo’s customer satisfaction and the entire value chain.

Valeo is an independent industrial Group fully focused on the design, production and sale of components, integrated systems and modules for cars and trucks. Valeo ranks among the world's top automotive suppliers. The Group has 140 plants, 53 R&D centers, 9 distribution centers and employs 69,100 people in 25 countries worldwide.