Taking Quality to the Floor
Quality Control in manufacturing is a needed process that ensures customers receive products that are free from defects and meet their needs.
Our customers expect us to deliver quality products in a timely manner. Quality is critical to satisfying our customers and retaining their trust and loyalty. It influences our reputation and helps to control our overall costs.
Recently, Graphel Carbon Products held a Kaizen event to help improve our quality and our on-time performance. One of the main pillars of LEAN methodology, a Kaizen is a specific tool to improve quality. The objective of a Kaizen is to improve productivity, reduce waste, eliminate unnecessary work and humanize the workplace.
Our Kaizen was held over a period of 3 days and included members of our engineering, operations, quality and manufacturing departments. They discussed current methodologies, best practices as well as requirements of all the departments. “In any process there are 3 considerations, the way we plan it to take place, the way we think it takes place, and the way it actually takes place. “ The Kaizen is a great tool for merging the desired and needed attributes of all of these to streamline and enhance a process”, stated Karl Schmidt, Graphel’s Quality Manager.
The results of the Kaizen were very interesting. It was determined that we could utilize our Quality Coaches on the floor much more effectively by intermittently testing with mechanical inspection tools, and complete the final inspection with advanced technologies in our quality department. With the use of micrometers, calipers and gages, time can be freed up on the CMM in the Quality Department for the more complicated quality requirements.
Quality Coaches are a group of certified professionals dedicated to improving quality and productivity. Graphel Carbon Products has over 20 individuals on our production floor who have received additional training and perform some of the functions of quality staff. It was determined that by investing in training, we could reduce the hours in quality by 549, freeing up time and netting a 29% productivity improvement. By furthering the training of the quality coaches and operators, we freed up resources that could be utilized for other jobs, netting a overall productivity improvement of 58%.
By taking the complete responsibility for quality out of the quality department and bringing it to the production floor, our team was able to free up resources and streamline productions.
Quality is part of our culture at Graphel Carbon Products, and we believe it is everyone’s responsibility.