Quality Solutions Driving the Global Automotive Industry


The automotive industry is no novice when it comes to quality assurance, of course paying homage to the origins of quality and the significant role automotive has played throughout. The history of QC in the automotive industry is highlighted from the 1940s through the 1990s, with Statistical Quality Control entering the industry during World War II. In the mid 1980s, most automotive manufacturers had recognized the demand for quality and incorporated many of the ideas of SPC, TQM, quality circles, etc. into their factories and corporate cultures. Since then, the industry continues as a leader in trends regarding safety and environmental concerns, among others. The automotive industry relies on rigorous quality requirements, advanced materials, electronics and embedded systems, mechanical components, engines, structures, etc. Over the last 30 years, the industry has significantly evolved in regards to product performance, leveraging technology and benefiting by a reduction in time-to-market. A report issued by McKinsey & Company predicting trends up through 2020 in the global automotive industry identifies four challenges that will affect the industry's growth. Complexity and cost pressure Diverging markets Digital demands Shifting industry landscape "To capture future growth and find profit from these challenges - and to mitigate their risks - we cannot simply turn to the traditional toolbox. Organizations need to review and adjust their strategic priorities, deploy the appropriate investments and resources, and develop new skills to execute these strategic objectives." According to AMR, supplier quality plays a critical role attributing to almost 52% of the overall manufacturing performance. Using a third-party partner like Pro QC benefits the industry in the following ways: Supplier Selection: Entering a partnership with a supplier can be a laborious process. A third-party can assist with identification, verification and on-site evaluations. Local expertise reduces cost, eliminates communication concerns and provides invaluable decision-making information. Product Development: Product Part Approval Process (PPAP) is a procedure that requires the supplier use tools such as SPC and Failure Mode Effects Analysis to launch a product, run an initial mass production run and then inspect a small number of random samples thoroughly. A third-party partner offers an ability to locally manage this process and associated corrective actions without delays, communications issues, etc. Production: On-site inspections ensure that the product meets specifications. In-process inspections are conducted when production is ~50% complete. Identifying issues early in the process reduces the associated costs of rework, scheduling delays, etc. later. Supplier Management: Evaluating suppliers on-site ensures that suppliers meet established product and process quality requirements and also support continuous improvement initiatives. Audits range in scope and nature, including general standards related to environmental (ISO 14001), social responsibility (SA8000 ISO 26000), security (C-TPAT), etc. ISO/TS 16949 applies to the design/development and production of automotive-related products. The requirements are intended to be applied throughout the supply chain and aligns existing German, U.S. French and Italian automotive quality systems standards in the industry. A recent article in Quality Progress discussed the impact of the ISO 9001:2015 revision as it relates to ISO/TS 16949. The authors identified that likely impacts include the new overall structure of the standard including the movement to risk-based thinking/planning, and elimination of mandatory documented procedures and the management representative. Auditors will require a change in the way evaluations are completed. Using an experienced third-party partner helps ensure current training and expertise. Pre-Shipment: Final pre-shipment QC inspections employ random sampling from a minimum of 100% produced and 80% packaged product. Inspections reduce the cost of poor quality (COPQ) and allow for timely identification of any non-conformances. They also provide visibility into the supplier's performance. Site inspections assist in the proactive identification, tracking and resolution of quality concerns prior to them becoming significant issues. Want to learn more? Pro QC is returning to the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) in November. For additional information, visit our booth at #1874 or contact us directly here: http://proqc.com/contact-proqc You can also visit our automotive-specific website here: http://proqcna.proqc.com/automotive-product-inspections To read more about The History of Quality in the Automotive Industry, refer to the ASQ publication below: Lightstone, Morris M.; Dillingham, David R.; Carpenter, David D.; Harral, William M. (1993, ASQC)

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