Case Study: Shifting To Higher Quality

By The Business Analyst Team

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A transmission manufacturer proves increases in quality can happen fast - even with a small amount of data.

Automotive Manufacturing / Production Quality Improvement

Profile: Specialist manufacturer of high quality automotive parts

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The Challenge:

When you acquire a new production plant, there are always going to be things that need to be fixed, integrated and/or improved. So when a major manufacturer of specialty auto parts completed such an acquisition, it wasn’t surprising to find some quality issues across its new facility. Not surprisingly, the most glaring issues needed immediate attention. A prime example was the high rejection rate the plant was experiencing on an intricate transmission part. This part came into the production process as a simple metal cylinder and came out as a highly polished, geometrically complex piece, having gone through a battery of computer-controlled machine tools. Yet one-in-five of the parts produced failed quality inspection tests.

By the time the team connected with MondoBrain, they had been able to capture data on this problematic process across only 55 production runs. The challenge they faced was to find a way to use this limited data set to determine what changes in the process were required to dramatically reduce the rejection rate of the parts produced.

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The Solution:

The first question to answer was simple… where to look? Out of all of the many steps in the manufacturing process, which ones were responsible for the significant waste and increase in scrap during the manufacturing process? Once the data was uploaded to MondoBrain the answer became clear. Two steps jumped out as the most significant… the drilling and roller burnishing steps. The next question was… what to do about it? After select members of the production team added input based on their intimate knowledge of this manufacturing process, MondoBrain provided the answer in a single working session. If the team kept the wall thickness low at a specific location in the part, any imperfections in the drilling step would be corrected by the roller burnishing step.

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The Results:

The results of implementing the new parameters in the production line were immediate and clear. Once the recommended changes were implemented on the line, non-conformities went from 20% of parts to zero. On an annualized basis, this change alone translated to savings of over 100,000 USD. MondoBrain continues to be used to optimize this process as tracked variables change with different customer demands and supplier constraints. The manufacturer is using the results of this first win to convince teams across the company to adopt MondoBrain to optimize their performance outcomes. They now understand the power of MondoBrain to quickly find significant answers to complex problems - even with limited amounts of data.