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What is an Automotive Component Manufacturer

Automotive Component Manufacturer implements in-process SPC to improve quality and reduce rework 

An automotive component manufacturer supplying parts for Ford, GM, Chrysler, and Mercury Marine needed to implement in-process compliance standard traceability. The company was already practicing SPC to verify compliance with standards at final inspection but wanted to start making adjustments on-process.

Problem

The manufacturer was running 10,000 piece batch processes on a rotating schedule and was having trouble controlling variations in set-up from one batch to the next. Operators, who had been with the company for years, were interpreting gage ratings, and inspectors were adjusting gages through memorization and intuition. This meant that each new batch and the operator could mean variations in gage settings. If a process was out of control, operators had to rely on their experience to correct the problem. Since gage settings were preprogrammed into the computer, operators were unable to make necessary setting adjustments if a part was oversizing or needed a histogram. This resulted in 100 percent inspections and rework.

Solution

Although the company had been using DataMyte products for eighteen years, the manufacturer switched to using them in-process in 1998-1999. The company also implemented DataMyte’s Quantum SPC software to analyze its processes. In addition, the company began an intensive training program. As each operator came on shift, they would be led through training. Each operator received about ten hours of training, and the entire process took several weeks. The company decided that although this process would take longer, in the end, it would result in operators who were identically and fully trained. 

The result of the manufacturer’s new SPC program was an operator workforce that was proficient in every department. This allowed the manufacturer to rotate operators with consistent results. Since operators had been fully trained and really understood the process, they were able to think through the process to correct variations, rather than calling a gage technician or relying on their individual intuition or expertise.

The manufacturer’s implemented changes have resulted in better quality, a consistent ability to monitor, fewer failures, fewer 100 percent inspections, reduced rework, and a knowledgeable workforce that is able to understand the process and catch out-of-control processes as they occur.

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