6 Tips to Help the Automotive Industry Improve Quality and Reduce Recalls
Record number of recalls in 2014 contributes to unnecessary expenses for automotive manufacturers and added burden on single-source suppliers
InfinityQS International, Inc., the global authority on real-time quality and Manufacturing Intelligence, offers six tips to help the automotive industry improve quality and reduce recalls across the supply chain, which will be discussed during the 2014 AIAG Quality Summit. The prevalence of recalls in recent years contributes to a significant, yet unnecessary, expense for manufacturers and an added burden on single-source suppliers. In the first six months of 2014, U.S. automakers hit a record high with the total number of recalls reaching 39.85 million vehicles. In the past five years, 12 million vehicles have been recalled for a faulty airbag inflator, affecting nearly every major automaker— Acura, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and more.
Below are six tips developed by InfinityQS’ president and CEO, Michael Lyle, based on knowledge and proven practices accumulated from more than 25 years of helping manufacturers deliver high-quality products.
- Create a Culture of Quality. Abnormalities in parts or inefficiencies in manufacturing processes exist on any plant floor, but operators may hesitate to point them out for fear it will reflect poorly on the quality of their work. Instead, quality departments and executive management should create a culture where suggestions for improvements—large or small—are welcomed and praised. This will not only encourage employees to offer suggestions, but also ultimately lead to improved manufacturing and quality, based on the recommendations.
- Work with Suppliers. Relationships between OEM manufacturers and their suppliers have continued to change drastically, shifting from one manufacturer juggling multiple suppliers to a single supplier supporting multiple manufacturers. Even though this is a more efficient business model for manufacturers, it creates a scenario where issues with a single supplier affect multiple manufacturers and multiple part lines. Working closely with suppliers enables manufacturers to understand the supplier’s internal processes and offer ways to improve the quality of the component parts so they meet the manufacturer’s quality standards.
- Use Technology to Connect the Supply Chain. With a global supply chain, it becomes increasingly difficult to know what is happening at each facility or supplier. Utilizing leading technologies, such as the cloud or mobile devices, helps to connect the supply chain, making it possible for operators and inspectors within a manufacturer’s facility or the relevant supplier to input data from anywhere, using any mobile device. The data populate a centralized database for personnel to review and analyze, while sending real-time notifications to management, even when they are off site.
- Demand More than an Inspection Report. Traditionally, manufacturers had to rely on a paper report and the word of their suppliers that the parts received met the OEM’s high quality standards. Today, it’s not enough to trust this process. Manufacturers must have visibility into supplier operations to understand what’s occurring within the manufacturing processes, ensuring appropriate testing is being conducted and confirming the results meet the OEM’S high quality standards. Real-time visibility created through cloud-based quality systems offers a complete view of supplier operations, removing the need to re-inspect incoming parts.
- Leverage Manufacturing Intelligence. Data gathered in-process offer a second tier of information, or Manufacturing Intelligence, that can be used to increase efficiency and quality across the enterprise and supply chain. Utilizing advanced data analysis software, it’s possible to compare site to site or supplier to supplier, identifying areas for improvement. If one facility is running an identical process significantly more efficiently than another, the information could be shared with the second site to enable process improvement. Extending this learning opportunity across a manufacturing environment helps to increase overall effectiveness and improve variation across operations.
- Drill Down through Data to Reduce Warranty Claims and Recalls. Manufacturing Intelligence enables the enterprise to drill down through manufacturing data from within the OEM business and the supply chain in order to identify when, where and how defective parts were made. If a product was returned within the warranty period because of a defective part, quality software can be used to identify whether the return was due to a supplier or material inconsistency. With the source of the issue identified, enterprises can put measures in place to prevent the same issue in the future.
Michael Lyle, president and CEO, InfinityQS, said, “Automobiles are more complex than ever, with systems that continue to try to do more for the driver. But with complexity, comes higher risk for failure. Automotive manufacturers must take steps to mitigate these failures through collaboration and the use of advanced technologies. The ability to easily move information, and attain real-time visibility into the supply chain, and its manufacturing and quality processes, is crucial in order to continue producing high-quality and safe vehicles.”
InfinityQS experts will be at booth 3 during the 2014 AIAG Quality Summit - Quality for Emerging Technologies, Sept. 24-25, 2014, in Novi, Mich., to further discuss these and other ways automotive manufacturers can improve quality and reduce recalls. As members of this prestigious organization, InfinityQS lends its expertise in real-time enterprise quality to help automotive manufacturers decrease costs and make smarter business decisions.
About InfinityQS International, Inc.
InfinityQS International, Inc.® is the global authority on Manufacturing Intelligence and enterprise quality. The company’s Manufacturing Intelligence platform, ProFicient, delivers real-time visibility from the shop floor, across the enterprise and into the supply chain, allowing top manufacturers to take control of quality. Powered by a centralized statistical process control (SPC) analytical engine, ProFicient manufacturing quality software leverages Manufacturing Intelligence to help global manufacturers improve product quality, decrease costs, maintain compliance and make smarter, data-driven business decisions. Headquartered in Fairfax, Va., and founded in 1989, InfinityQS now services more than 40,000 active licenses with over 2,500 of the world’s top manufacturers including Kraft Foods, Ball Corporation, Boston Scientific, Graham Packaging and Medtronic. For more information, visit www.infinityqs.com.