Case Studies

Pick-pack error reduction

An industry leading producer of electro-mechanical assemblies received customer feedback indicating that approximately  50% of orders were shipped with errors; predominantly missing or incorrect parts. A review of their existing complaint system showed that the group inconsistently captured and tracked customer feedback leaving inadequate data to drive impact-full change. 

 

In effort to address the reported errors, introduction of  bar coded warehouse management techniques and “blind” quality inspection controls with the existing ERP system, significantly reducing human error in the order fulfillment process. Meanwhile, controls to capture real time data and quality trends as well as reporting measures were implemented to proactively monitor, prioritize and address customer feedback. 

 

Projected improvements for this initiative were set at 75% and customer feedback suggests that the initial implementation successfully reduced the errors by upwards of 65%.

Reduced ITO cycle

Competitor advancements jeopardized a “design to order” manufacturer’s industry leading position for product lead times.  Constrained by the existing product configuration and order management tools, a cross-functional team was assembled to value stream map and analyzes the non-system opportunities within the baseline process.  With the elimination of non-value added steps, focused projects to address historically accepted rework loops, statistical modeling to optimize resource re-distribution at bottlenecks and cross-training a ~40% reduction in cycle time was realized.  With increased improvements in year two driven by improved data reporting, real time process monitoring and advanced system model optimization an additional 15% reduction is projected.

Product Quality Erosion

Consumers saw significant erosion in product quality over a two year period, jeopardizing an industrial material division’s position as market leader in sales and quality.  A full review of the division’s metrics and complaint management system identified existing controls/initiatives were not configured to reflect customer facing issues.   A supplemental set of metrics and improved data collection was established, enabling the creation of prioritized initiatives focused on customer top issues.  Application of data based (6sigma) methods increased the effectiveness and impact of team projects producing YoY reduction (2 yr cumulative) in customer complaints of ~40%.

Additional efforts to drive the sustained improvements included creation of standardized SOP’s & product specifications, development of real time internal and escaping defect reporting and integration of quality communication into GEMBA activities.

Design for Manufacturability

A manufacturing leader in a rapid growth industry experienced a sudden increase in beginning of life product failures.  Review of historic manufacturing and design change processes found that the business had a history of changing the product design to meet the emerging customer demands without adequate manufacturing validation.  Customer interviews, factory level KAIZEN events and time line analysis of the specific failures identified two independent product changes that when evaluated alone were benign however when coupled jeopardized product integrity under specific environmental conditions.  With the update to existing product specifications and the creation/implementation of product validation protocols, targeting the full set of customer use cases, the product design was optimized to address the field failure.