By The Pro QC Quality Assurance Team
The Covid-19 global pandemic has triggered an unusual push in the western world: people are buying cars to avoid the unavoidable lack of social distancing that comes with using mass public transport. (Though we do caveat that global car sales aren’t going to see quite the numbers they did in 2019). However, this of course means an enormous uptick in the demand for auto parts – everybody’s got to keep their cars running smoothly, right?
We’re not just talking passenger cars here though. The gamut includes light commercial vehicles, minibusses, buses, trucks, and coaches among them. For all of these, the automotive industry obviously carries great weight in the safety stakes. Quality of auto parts is a critical component for guaranteeing driver and passenger welfare, which in turn ensures automakers can continue to innovate and drive market growth.
The conformity of each automotive part is crucial for the safety and effective functionality of the final product. Everything from mechanical components, electronics, engine and components, batteries, bearing, brakes, wheels, steering, exhausts, car seats, and batteries is just as important as the car body, paint and adhesives, lighting, and accessories. This means third party quality control and quality inspection is important to ensure that every piece is safe to be a part of the vehicle.
The supply chain of automotive parts is both highly specialized and highly globalized. Vehicle batteries and mechatronics come largely from more advanced manufacturing regions or countries such as Europe, China, and Taiwan. Bearings, bodywork, and electronics come from manufacturing regions and countries that have a more mature supply chain for specific components such as South East Asia, Eastern Europe China, and Taiwan. Today we are going to focus on the auto parts industry in India.
Ensuring Quality of Auto Part Manufacturing in India
We’re focusing here on parts that are manufactured across India – namely in the cities of Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Gurgaon – and some of the issues faced by customers when sourcing parts from this particular country.
Key parts produced in India cover a wide remit and include cluster assembly, engine components, engine cooling systems, carburetors, car body components, engine body cylinder heads, doors, windows, electrical panes, braking systems and reservoirs, lighting systems and bulbs, interiors, fuel supply systems, vehicle tires, air-conditioning, and passenger seats.
With such a wide spectrum of parts being manufactured in India, foreign buyers inevitably face challenges that can be very local in nature. These include governmental policy pertaining to the Goods & Services (GST) taxation rates with constant changes being made to the directory of figures, frequent employee union demands, and product deliveries not being kept to pre-planned schedules.
Additional quality control issues for vehicle parts manufacturing in India are similar to those found in other parts of the world – final product appearance defects: color not being right, over-shine of the product, scratches, cracks and functional defects: lining, fitment, and shape imperfections.
For this reason, auditing factories to the IATA 16949 and VDA 6.3 standard is imperative to ensuring fewer late-stage quality issues before designated delivery times for the final auto part product.
Through process mapping and walking the production line, Pro QC’s audit team in Indian automotive manufacturers typically find issues on a variety of production processes controls, such as improper production start-up, preventive maintenance, cleanliness, and proper calibration. All of these issues contribute to increasing process variance, aka, quality defects.
Another big concern in India tends to be ensuring that the manufacturer’s top management understands that quality performance is strongly tied to their key business objectives. Quality defects often have a significant and direct impact on their bottom-line.
Therefore, a key to successful improvement is to ensure the manufacturer understands the audit observations and product defect issues. These observations and issues will translate into a corrective action plan requiring top-down commitment to implement the plan in a timely fashion.
Global Auto Part Quality
Pro QC has been providing quality control solutions for the automotive industry since 1984, working with over 88 production countries. Among the services we offer, we help ensure compliance with industry standards such as
- IATF 16949 – which adheres to the requirements for the automotive quality management system;
- Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) – which requires the parts’ suppliers to deploy the necessary analysis and quality tools to ensure conformance to their client’s specification before mass production;
- VDA 6.3 process audit – which assesses the risks in the process control of a production line
These audits will lay the groundwork to ensure safety and quality conformance for automotive parts coming together from all over the world.