Failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) is a core tool for reducing automotive and aerospace manufacturing risks. And yet, companies routinely waste 80% of the potential value of the FMEA process.
Particularly for manufacturers on the lower end of the maturity spectrum, FMEAs are simply a theoretical exercise for maintaining a certification or meeting customer requirements. These manufacturers may fill out an FMEA and even add a few countermeasures, but ultimately it’s just another form to file away and forget about.
It’s an open secret that many automotive and aerospace manufacturers have unacceptably high defects and costs. And where defects are on the rise, quality costs aren’t far behind.
In 2016, General Motors (GM) instituted a new supplier quality program called Built in Quality Supply (BIQS), representing a major departure from its previous Quality Systems Basics (QSB) program.
Equipment downtime gets expensive fast in automotive and aerospace manufacturing, a risk many companies try to mitigate by storing spare parts onsite. A machine breaks down, haul out the parts and hopefully you’re back in business with minimal disruption.
The problem is, manufacturers get so wrapped up in hitting production targets that they don’t stop to ask why the machine went down in the first place.
The result? The equipment goes down again, whether two days, two weeks or two months later, causing additional downtime because the “corrective” action was never designed to last.
Boeing is demanding its suppliers to reduce their prices by 10% according to a February article published in Bloomberg Business Week. It’s a hard pill for many to swallow given that that these cuts are on top of the roughly 15% cuts demanded in 2012 when the company launched its Partnering for Success program.
Every day we glean insights from signals that show when a change is coming or we need to take action.
The smoke alarm goes off when you’re cooking, alerting you to turn down the burner. Your engine starts making a funny noise weeks before your car breaks down. That old injury starts to ache just before a storm front moves in.
In quality and manufacturing, we call these leading indicators, or measures that predict performance outputs. For aerospace suppliers in particular, mastery of leading indicators can help build a competitive advantage in an industry where many companies compete for the business of relatively few OEMs.
Getting to mastery, however, requires a solid understanding of how leading indicators work and how to effectively track them.
The cost of ineffective corrective action can be astronomical when you consider the monetary and reputational impact of delayed problem-solving. On a small scale, repeat problems—even minor errors—send a message to customers that you just don’t care to get it right.
And when poor problem-solving leads to more significant quality escapes? You could be looking at $10,000 per minute from the customer in line stoppage charges, or even a $10 million dollar recall.
To ensure corrective actions reduce risk, automotive and aerospace suppliers need to avoid key mistakes around measuring effectiveness, root cause analysis and tracking closure.
Roughly 7 in 10 manufacturers have implemented Lean manufacturing principles in their organizations, with 5S, Six Sigma and Kaizen representing the most popular strategies today.
One tool that supports these specific approaches and Lean manufacturing principles more generally is a layered process audit (LPA) program. LPAs draw auditors from all management layers and departments to verify mission-critical processes on a daily basis.
Let’s examine how LPAs align with Lean manufacturing principles, providing a structured approach to unlock the biggest benefits of this popular quality methodology.
Pareto’s Law, also known as the 80/20 rule, tells us that 20% of inputs are responsible for 80% of results. Even when it’s not an even 80/20 split, the idea that a few factors drive a large proportion of outcomes applies to many business processes and everyday situations.
Like how a majority of complaints often result from a few key defects. Or how 20% of our time accounts for 80% of our productivity, with the remaining 80% spent on meaningless tasks.
In the automotive and aerospace industries, organizations can use a range of tools to leverage the 80/20 rule for bigger, faster quality improvements. Pareto management is the most obvious of these, but manufacturers should also apply the rule to performance metrics, risk management and audits.