By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal
BLUE SPRINGS – Toyota’s Mississippi plant added a second production shift Monday, marking a milestone for the automaker’s newest plant.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi has about 2,000 working at the plant site, according to a Toyota news release, the targeted number for the plant’s initial phase.
As of Monday, the production workers are now split into two shifts. The first shift is 6:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m, and second shift is 6:30 p.m. to 3:15 a.m.
Toyota spokeswoman Emily Holland said production staffing is split equally, with about 660 production team members working each shift. Toyota is no longer taking applications for production employees, she added.
The team members are making the 2012 Toyota Corolla. The plant started production in October with the 2011 Corolla.
“Adding a second shift is a significant milestone for us,” said David Copenhaver, vice president of administration at TMMMS, in the release. “Our team members’ strong work ethic and focus on quality and safety has begun to pay dividends for Corolla customers across North America as we continue production ramp up through spring.”
Holland said the team members have been working staggered shifts to prepare for the move. They first did a four-hour overlap for two weeks and then moved to a two-hour overlap for two weeks. Monday was the first day there was no overlap for the production workers, she said.
In addition, the plant’s cafeteria now has two shifts.
TMMMS is Toyota’s 14th North American plant. The plant is an $800 million investment and has the annual capacity to produce 150,000 Corollas when it is at full production.