Delphi not only makes catalytic converters; it has also converted itself. Its factory in Oak Creek, Wisconsin has become a fast, flexible, future-focused operation. The result is a new-economy factory in the heart of the old economy.
Walk onto the shop floor at the Delphi Automotive Systems Corp. plant in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and the first thing that you’ll see will be 500,000 square feet of nothing. The $29.2 billion tier-one automotive supplier — a former division of General Motors that went public and spun out in 1999 — has a complex history that goes back almost 100 years. But some of the most dramatic changes at Delphi’s Oak Creek plant have occurred over the past two years — and the company has a lot of empty space to show for it.