Our customer, a Dutch automotive OEM, is engaged to develop new engines for model year 21, where stricter emission legislation on global level sets high standards. This challenge also concerns suppliers involved in engine and fuel management systems.
One particular supplier is struggling to get the production of a vital fuel injection component up to speed at the desired quality standards. Considering the risk of meeting development deadlines, our customer has decided to form a dedicated team, where we have been requested to support in root cause analysis and process development.
Opportunities are to be found in:
- Measurement System Analysis of in-process measurements and specifically of the final functional test.
- Understanding relationships between Key Performance Variables and final test results.
- Improvement of critical component manufacturing and assembly steps where required.
Visits to the supplier facilities have provided insight in the critical pilot production process steps and in the way they have organised themselves to tackle the challenge at hand.
The following subjects have been addressed:
- Measurement System Analysis and observation of the final test show that this critical step is not in control. We have defined, discussed and proposed improvements, mainly in the execution and interpretation of test results.
- The assembly area and process did show insufficiencies with respect to 5S standards, product handling and standard work. Based on our recommendations, the supplier has brought final assembly up to standard on short notice.
- The component manufacturing lines also revealed issues with 5S standards and specifically with component traceability. We have created awareness with local management and supported traceability improvement, including external tier 2 suppliers.
- Together with the supplier engineering team we have increased understanding of Key Process Variables contributing to final product performance. This understanding has become the basis of fact based communication between supplier and OEM and has the potential to grow into a future process control plan.
- Root Cause Analysis at first appeared to be cumbersome due to the lack of data. After setting up structural retrieval of reliable data, and using a mix of Six Sigma and Shainin methodologies, correlations have been found which directly impacted defined problem areas.
The intensive support of a supplier by this OEM might not be common, but appeared inevitable and in the end has proven successful. Final Yield has tripled in a short period of time and reached the level where the next phase of the industrialisation process can be entered in time.
“Shrink, shrink variation – to reduce the loss” – W. Edward Deming
Peter Lemke – Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt