In January 2016, United Equipment Accessories (UEA) had an internal defective parts per million (PPM) of 9,221. UEA engineers and manufactures standard and custom solutions for shift controls, slip rings, cable rings and hydraulic swivels.
UEA’s quality department found opportunity in this situation and launched a new nonconformance reporting process and a corrective and preventive action process. By May 2016, UEA’s monthly PPM had dropped to 1,380.
“The significant decrease in defective parts was a true team effort,” said Dhaivat Patel, quality engineer at UEA. “It took the cooperation of all employees and the management team.”
Progress and a talley on the PPM goal
The company’s goal was to reach 6,000 PPM by April. To achieve this goal, UEA’s quality department first introduced the NCR (nonconformance report) with severity gates (1 to 3) into the process.
Gate 1: Nonconformance reported by same department where part/process is being manufactured
Gate 2: Nonconformance found by other department/by in-process quality inspector
Gate 3: Nonconformance found during final quality inspection or by team leaders
With the introduction of this NCR gate system, a healthy competition was created between departments.
“Because no department wants to receive NCRs, everyone becomes more self-aware and diligent in cross-checking their work and their coworkers’ work,” said Patel.
By using this gate system, UEA developed the internal customer concept between departments. With the help of all employees, UEA quality management’s new nonconformance system has become an integral part of the total quality management system. Each employee is accountable and does everything they can to ensure a quality product reaches customers.
“The key to reducing the PPM is hiding inside the company’s nonconformance report process and supplier quality,” said Patel. “Other companies can follow our lead and experience dramatic results, too.”
For more information about UEA’s new initiative, visit www.uea-inc.com.