80 percent of companies still rely on the principle of “trial and error” – Quality management – well it certainly isn’t

May 6, 2015 | News Germany

Faulty airbag sensors, defective seatbelt locks, the risk of short circuits occurring in the engine compartment and ignition switches which burst into flames – during the past few weeks alone, car manufacturers have again had to recall millions of vehicles all over the world. In addition to the direct costs incurred, each product recall causes lasting damage to the image of the company. Even more astonishing is the fact that many companies, and not only those in the automotive industry, continue to work on the symptoms in a manner which lacks structure instead of using a systematic approach to the underlying causes. This is illustrated in the current market observations made by Staufen, the business consultancy firm. “In simple cases, it is possible to diagnose a fault by means of expertise and gut feeling because the solution is fairly obvious,” states Amir Cviko, head of Business Unit Quality Excellence for the business consultancy firm, Staufen AG. “But the trial and error method is soon stretched to its limits when it comes to problems which have a medium level of complexity and it rarely gets to the core of the problem.” Let us take the automotive industry as an example. The ever-shorter development cycles and the steady increase in the outsourcing of development and value-added activities to external suppliers considerably raise the level of complexity and thus have a direct impact on the susceptibility to faults. The policy of using interchangeable components and factories which is now practised by all manufacturers has resulted in the fact that one fault can quickly trigger product recalls which are large-scale and sometimes even global. Cviko, the quality manager states “Companies cannot get around the need to use structured, mathematical and statistical methods of fault tracing in order to be able to react quickly in this sort of environment when there are critical discrepancies.” The procedure is divided into four steps: isolate the problem, identify the key influencing factors, obtain statistical confirmation of the factors, solve the problem. As yet however, only about 20 percent of the companies structure their troubleshooting procedure in this way, right from the analysis of the data through to the isolation of the risk. Cviko, the consultant at Staufen advises that, “In order to achieve success, it is most important to see quality management as a component of added value and not as an uninvolved staff function.” “A culture of preventative problem solving will not be possible until the quality manager has the right to show their operative colleagues the red card from time to time.” On 10 June at this year’s BestPractice Day to be held by Staufen AG., Amir Cviko and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Joachim Metternich from TU Darmstadt will explain how companies separate relevant and irrelevant data, identify failure mechanisms, and are eventually able to prevent a recurrence of the fault. BestPractice Day 2015: The leading Lean Management congress in Europe At the BestPractice Day 2015 from 8 to 10 June 2015 in Darmstadt, companies and leading Lean Management experts will give an account of their experiences when developing successful value creation systems. A key focus for this year: Industry 4.0 and Lean. For more information about the event, please go to:

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