Could a Focus on Getting Every Call Right have the Wide-ranging Benefits for Call Centers that JIT had in Manufacturing | Pyzdek InstituteFriday, May 4th, 2012
Philip R. Wahl
Product Assurance Engineer II
Peter L. Bersbach
Sr. Product Assurance Engineer
Hughes Aircraft Company
PO Box 92426
Los Angeles, CA 90009
This paper is the continuation of “QFD on a Defense Contract.” This installment will examine the application of Total Quality Management (TQM) to the later stages of a project. Statistical Process Control (SPC) and how Quality Function Deployment (QFD) and Design Of Experiments (DOE) help implement SPC will be looked at closely. The goal of the project is to develop a factory to build high-rate, low-cost microwave hybrids for the aerospace, automotive, and defense industry .QFD helped get the project off the ground; now other TQM tools are being used to help win the follow-on contract.
Implementing a successful SPC program on the production floor requires many TQM tools. The process includes three basic steps: (1) setting the foundation, (2) establishing controls, and (3) making sure that these controls meet our needs and our customer’s needs.
Step 1 talks about the use of QFD and DOE to def111e the best manufacturing approach, select the best equipment, and f111gerprint that equipment so pre-controls can be put on each process. Supplier networking is established to start a process that will work toward fewer and better sources for the factory.
Step 2 discusses how to go from pre-control to full fledged control charts. We will also cover the need to establish Process Action Teams, Process Control Logs, Out of Control Condition Procedures, and risk assessments.
Step 3 looks at ensuring that the controls in place meet our needs and the needs of our customer. During this step, we will discuss the use of process capabilities and Process Action Teams to monitor and improve the process.
This paper also covers supplier relations and the application of TQM in that area. We develop partnerships with vendors through the GM Targets for Excellence system. This system provides a method for continuous improvement at the vendor level so all can benefit.
Finally, this paper will cover the results of our efforts. We will look not only at the good things, but also at the obstacles and lessons learned. The ability to carry TQM throughout the life of a program will be discussed along with the difficulty communicating across disciplines.
The boardroom was thick with tension and anticipation. The only light came from the view graph projector with its squeaky, annoying blower. It was all on the line and everyone knew it! It was the last customer review of our product. It was the last chance we had before the customer decided if we would get additional funding for the next phase. We had worked long and hard to satisfy the customer and guarantee additional funding, but would it all pay off?
This was the setting in June 1990, the last customer review for the T/R Module ManTech Program, the purpose of which was to develop a factory to build high-rate, low-cost microwave hybrids for the aerospace and defense industry .The program was introduced last year with a paper entitled, “QFD on a Defense Contract.” It explained how we applied QFD in the early stages of a contract, when it was still in its infancy. This paper covers how we are applying TQM in the stages beyond the June 1990 review. The focus is on our SPC implementation plan and how other tools, such as QFD and DOE, helped shape and form it. We did receive the go-ahead for phase 3 (the next phase of the contract) and are still aggressively applying TQM. The implementation of our SPC plan is in progress.
The application of TQM to this program began early on with QFD. When the primary goals and objectives were set, they were definitely revolutionary. The desire was to go from a production rate of 100 per day to 1000 per day and from $3000 each to $200 each. We used QFD to identify key product characteristics that would help meet the goals and satisfy the customer. The time spent on our initial QFD chart was well worth it (see Fig. 1).1 Not only were key product characteristics identified, but team unity and spirit were created. The chart emphasized four key areas: yield, rate, module cost, and process capability. The TQM team used these four areas to progress through a functional tree diagram into ten more QFDs (see Fig. 2). Throughout this stage, both internal and external customers were actively and enthusiastically involved. Management support for all our TQM efforts has also been very strong. There is no doubt that this has been a primary contributor to the success of the program.
The implementation of SPC incorporates two main goals of our TQM system: variability reduction and continuous measurable improvement (cmi). SPC, including process capability analysis, is implemented in three steps: Pre-implementation, Initial Implementation, and Implementation Verification. Each of these steps has distinctive tasks to be covered in greater detail. An important pan of the SPC plan is that the “owners” of the processes are fully involved in designing and implementing it. The owners are those people who actually use and work with the process. For example, testing our product is a process where SPC will be applied. The test technicians are the owners. When the portion of the SPC plan that applies to test was developed, these people became pan of the team tasked with SPC implementation. This approach allows people to feel that it is their plan, which greatly enhances participation and overall compliance. QFD and DOE also play a vital role in the plan. The owners are involved in using QFD to review customer needs and select the best manufacturing approach and equipment DOE is used, if needed, to aid in that selection or help optimize other processes. The idea is to flow customer demands from the first QFD chart down to the manufacturing floor. This ensures that effort is spent on the areas that have the greatest potential for achieving customer satisfaction. Another important element of the plan is supplier review. Our program has adopted a vendor networking system from General Motors called Targets for Excellence (TFE). This vendor networking system strives to create partnerships between the supplier and customer. The process owners are the customers of the materials supplied to them. It makes sense that they have a partnership with those supplying the materials.
Step 1: Pre-implementation
Pre-implementation is essentially a period during which a detailed review of existing data takes place. This data will include all QFD matrices built on assembly processes, data from similar processes, and vendor capabilities. SPC training is conducted during pre-implementation for those who require it. Also during pre-implementation, preliminary data, analysis is performed to determine process capability, process parameters, and product characteristic correlation and distribution structure. Initial candidates for SPC are determined from this data.
Engineers participating in activities requiring SPC receive basic training in interpretation and development of control charts and other statistical tools, such as Pareto analysis and histograms. Operators and inspectors working on the program receive basic skills training applicable to SPC. The intent is to have the owners of the process collect and use the data on a real-time basis so that they can take immediate action to correct trends before the process produces an unacceptable product. This approach is effective, but requires a higher level of SPC awareness by those involved. That is why training is so important
Initial candidates for SPC will be examined and classified as critical, major, or minor characteristics. Minor characteristics will be addressed only after all critical and major characteristics have been reviewed. It is anticipated that controls will be placed on process parameters rather than product variables where appropriate data shows that process parameters correlate with product characteristics. Two events need to take place before, or at least during the same time as the selection of these characteristics: (1) selection of the manufacturing approach and (2) definition of the processing equipment needed to attain that approach. QFD and DOE are used heavily during the selection of the manufacturing approach and equipment
When the manufacturing approach is selected, a review o all QFD matrices ensures that the s of the customer flow throughout the program and into the SPC plan. As customer needs pertinent to the approach emerge, additional QFD charts may be needed to compare customer needs with available approaches. The result is an approach that best satisfies customer needs. This type of chart, called a concept selection matrix, is used quite often. Existing processes to be used again are reviewed QFD style to identify weaknesses. When an acceptable approach is hard to find, further study is undertaken through experimental designs. These DOEs are directed toward the development of a process that meets customer needs. Supplier networking, the purpose of which is to determine capabilities and recommend techniques, begins during step 1, Pre-implementation, through the TFE process.
When equipment needs are to be defined and individual pieces selected for installation, QFD will again be used. A matrix of customer needs and different pieces of equipment available will be constructed for each segment of the process. This approach determines the best equipment for the job. When information on equipment capabilities is not available, but the equipment supplier is willing to work with us to determine this information, experimental designs and capability studies are performed to obtain the desired information, Working together makes both equipment and materials vendor’s partners in the overall success of the program. These partnerships will ensure that our vendors’ perspectives are considered in the overall plan.
Once equipment is defined and purchased, the real use of DOE begins. Up to this point, mainly subjective information and a minimum amount of general data is used to relate product performance to process or equipment parameters. After production, equipment is purchased and is in the factory, DOEs and capability studies are performed to determine the exact relationship between critical product characteristics and process parameters. This relationship is identified as the “fingerprint” of the equipment. The fingerprint also identifies the process parameter target values, the process variability around that value, and the ability of the process to produce an acceptable product Once fingerprinting is complete the initial candidates for SPC can be determined.
Near the end of step 1 all available manufacturing/assembly data, including data obtained from the selection of the approach and equipment and from the fingerprinting of that equipment, is reviewed and, if necessary, further analyzed. This review leads to the determination of initial SPC candidates. The analysis will include a first refinement of the process capability, process parameter, and product characteristic correlations and distribution structure. The goal is to meet customer needs and maintain a capable process. This data will also be analyzed to determine the feasibility of using techniques such as highly repeatable tooling and tooling as a media of inspection.
Preliminary control charts are designed to collect variables data where applicable. These preliminary, or pre-control, charts for variables data have upper and lower pre-control limits based on the product feature tolerance zones or its relationship to the process parameter being controlled. The initial pre-control limits are 77.1 % of the process or product specification limits. Pre-control limits of 77.1 % require process improvement during early SPC program steps to create a process that, in the long nun, produces a product with a defect rate of less than 100 parts per million (ppm).Pre-control chart limits for attributes data are based on historic data of similar assembly operations or based on a targeted process Acceptability Quality Level (AQL). Initial pre-control limits may, therefore, be based on attainable limits of mature existing processes (with a learning curve correction, if applicable) or on an AQL, if no acceptable similar process exists.
The use of QFD, DOE and a supplier networking program are emphasized. Our goal is to develop an SPC plan that incorporates all these tools. A simple check sheet has been developed (see Fig. 3) to track and monitor our efforts toward the use of these tools as they apply to our SPC plan. The SPC coordinator uses the check sheet to track and record progress. He is the SPC focal point and also provides SPC expertise and training.
T/R ManTech SPC Implementation Status
Step I: Pre-Implementation
Sample Check Sheet for Tracking SPC Progress
Ste 2: Initial Implementation
Step 2 is the early implementation period where initial process data is collected from production pans and analyzed to determine the true process capabilities and levels of control required by each process step. The duration of this step is determined by the time required to manufacture/assemble the rust 100 production units. The responsibility for performing measurements and plotting the data resides with the operator when practical, or with the inspector when inspection equipment limitations, machine cycle time, or some other requirements indicate a need for other than operator measurement. If special tooling, gages, or equipment is needed to ensure that the process is both stable and capable, the process engineer obtains that equipment at this time.
In the case of operator measurements of variables data, periodic random audits of pan measurements done by operators are performed by inspection. Parts measured by an operator, used to determine the most recent control chart point, are retained for audit or until a new control chart sample is taken. In the case of operator identification of attributes data, the most recent unit produced is identified so that audit/verification may be performed by inspection during random periodic audits.
For each process a Process Action Team (PAT) and SPC Log (SPCL) is established. Each PAT is responsible for its own process. The PAT is made up of operators, inspectors, and appropriate manufacturing, process, and quality engineers. It is their responsibility to monitor the process for out-of-control (OOC) conditions. If an OOC condition develops, the process is shut down, supervision notified, and the condition documented in the SPCL by the operator. Corrective action, as approved by the PAT, must be initiated and documented in the SPCL before the process is started up again. All corrective action must be verified as effective. This is done by increasing inspection to as much as 100%. Repetitive or ineffective corrective actions, as evidenced by continuing OOC conditions are referred to the Operations Team. The OT is the governing body in all plant operations.
Two main goals or our TQM system:
Variability reduction and continuous measurable improvement
The capability indices of each process are recalculated and recorded in the SPCL periodically by the responsible engineer. If the indices have shifted significantly in either direction without justification, the engineer convenes a meeting of the PAT .The team then investigates the cause of the shift.
Once the cause of the shift has been determined, the process is adjusted to have the best (largest) capability indices, and a report on the cause is written to the applicable OT. The capability indices recorded in the SPCL are subject to audits by the quality organization to ensure that shifts have been addressed. Any shifts not appropriately addressed are referred to the applicable OT.
Step 3: Implementation
Step 3 is a further data collection period during which enough data is generated by the processes to permit the computation of statistically valid process control limits. During step 2 only 100 units are produced as the new factory is demonstrated. In step 3, medium production rates of up to 1000 per day are reached. This increased production rate allows for the full implementation of valid SPC.
Many of the elements of step 2 carry over to step .3. The responsibility for performing the measurements and plotting data for the SPC charts remains the same. The PATs also remain intact and retain responsibilities as outlined in step 2. The PATs also maintain a history of the data used to derive all process capability indices, all original control chart parameters, and all parametric changes made to the control charts. A history of the actual control charts is maintained, which is the basic data used to compute the control chart plot points as well as the SPCL. The continuing goal of the PATs is to reduce process variability and improve process performance.
During step 3, the control chart type by specific operation will be determined by production volumes and data analysis of the specific product of the operation. The actual sample size and frequency of measurements for variables control charts is based on production rates determined at this time. Control charts for attributes data of assembly and test operations are determined by production volumes. The type of chart may be changed as volumes increase.
When SPC has been implemented and the processes have been demonstrated to be in a state of statistical control, the product conforms to final acceptance specifications, and the process capability indices are greater than 1.33, the quality organization reviews this information along with the cost of inspection (the current sampling control chart procedure) to determine if reductions in inspection (sampling) are warranted. If warranted, inspection is reduced, and all information used to make that decision is stored. The customer is then notified of the reduction.
SPC techniques are applied through the GM Targets for Excellence (TFE) program to subcontractor/vendor processes. In all cases, statistical quality control (SQC) techniques will be used to validate subcontractor/vendor product quality. As subcontractors/vendors progress in the TFE program by increasing their process capabilities, SQC techniques are reduced or eliminated.
In October 1990, Hughes Aircraft Co. and Delco Electronics formed a new subsidiary called HE Microwave. This new subsidiary is our factory of the future. Shortly after its origin, it employed 10 individuals, 6 of which have already received at least 30 hours of training in the use of TQM tools. The plant manager and the quality manager are already trained. Plans are underway to provide equivalent training to the others. All employees have previously worked in a high-rate production line for electronics equipment at Delco or a highly automated military production line at Hughes. With this strong knowledge base in the area of TQM, the organization is steadily focused on meeting customer needs.
With all the training and experience within HE Microwave, the best tool that keeps the team moving is teamwork itself. In the previous paper, teamwork was stressed, and here again it turns out to be a vital key to the success of both HE Microwave and the users of the TQM tools. It is so much a part of HE Microwave that the company does not have an organization chart. Management feels that an organization chart tends to pigeonhole people in specific jobs which leads to the “it’s not my problem” syndrome. They hope that the chart never exists so that all will look at problems as their own and work together to solve them.
As of October 1990, work has started on the selection of both the best manufacturing approach and the best equipment. In trying to do this our biggest, obstacle-communication-has surfaced. When HE Microwave was set up, a shift occurred from El Segundo, CA to Tucson, AZ where HE Microwave ‘-; located. As this shift occurred, it was necessary to get out the QFD charts and review the flow down of customer needs. The review caused many questions (as it should with new members joining the team). Most have been resolved but some are still being worked. The importance of what is happening is a transfer of vital customer information to new team players in a timely manner. This transfer could not have happened without the QFD charts.
The TFE vendor networking system is also well on its way. The supplier assessment team has come up to speed and started the process with four initial suppliers. The four suppliers have been assessed, and partnerships are being developed. After this first stage, the balance of the suppliers will be introduced to the TFE process.
Through it all, the team continues to remember the importance of customer satisfaction and the key areas of focus identified by the first QFD chart: Yield, Process Capability, Rate, and Module Cost. These are the goals for the entire organization. The SPC plan is a way to help us get there. It is important to keep the overall goals in sight so that the daily grind of the work place doesn’t become overwhelming.
The key element of this program is “the team.” The team is using QFD, DOE, SPC, and TFE to help satisfy customer needs. We are using the system, changing and adapting it to achieve this customer satisfaction. Most importantly, the system is not using us. It is very important to maintain this perspective. Without it, creativity is lost and we are slaves to a system that disallows anything but the standard way of business. The team can break these barriers and go beyond what is commonplace. It can use the system to bring customer satisfaction to new heights. This is where we are going and we are using the concept of TQM to take us there.
1. Bersbach, Peter L., and Philip R. Wahl. “QFD on a Defense Contract.” 1990 ASQC Quality Congress Proceedings, San Francisco, CA.
2. King, Bob. Better Designs In Half The Time. First Ed. Methuen, MA: GOAUQPC 1987.
3. ReVelle, Jack B. The New Quality Technology. Los Angeles, CA: Hughes Aircraft Co.,1989
 Bersbach Peter L.. and Philip R. Wahl. “QFD on a Defense Contract.” 1990 ASQC Quality Congress Proceedings, San Francisco. CA
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|Peter L. Bersbach||Philip R. Wahl|
|Quality Engineering||Quality Engineering|
|GM Hughes Electronics||GM Hughes Electronics|
|Tucson, Arizona||El Segundo, California|
I wrote this and presented this at the 1990 ASQ Quality Congress but thought some may find it interesting and informative.
This paper describes a real life application of Quality Function Deployment (QFD) to a factory of the future in the Aerospace and Defense industry. The factory of the future is a proposed high rate low cost microwave hybrid manufacturing facility. It is felt that without the application of QFD the facility will never achieve its goal of high rate and low cost. More a diary than a historical account, this paper describes an application that is still in progress. The completion of the project is planned for 1992.
Besides the goals of high rates and low cost mentioned above, several other reasons for the choice of QFD as a tool for managing this project will be covered. Some examples are: customer requirements, better company communications, and the integration of customer requirements into production requirements.
This paper discusses the resources required by QFD on this project. These resources include personnel needed for cross departmental teams; personnel needed for formal and informal facilitation and training; time spent in training and team meetings; and other costs such as software, tools, and equipment required to implement process controls.
A description of the QFD tools (matrices) employed and how they were employed, as well as, why certain QFD tools were not used and why others were modified to better fit the situation is discussed. This project incorporated a mix of the ASI basic waterfall of four basic, but large, matrices and the GOAL/QPC approach of 32 smaller matrices.
An in-depth look into the obstacles encountered will be presented. Included will be the understanding and overcoming of any resistance to this new approach by management, as well as the removal of any barriers found between departments. The obstacle of ignorance toward QFD is also discussed, with the approaches used to educate all of its advantages explained.
Finally, this paper provides the complete description of the results achieved. This includes the accomplishments, failures,
and the current status of the project. Also it will look at the future plans and goals that the project has and will try to project a completion date when the development of new matrices will essentially stop and the maintenance of the old ones begin.
In October of 1988, a team of engineers from Hughes Aircraft, Delco Electronics, General Electric, AT&T, and Pacific Monolithics, was formed to write a proposal for a factory of the future. The Air Force had requested bids from several companies to assemble a manufacturing process capable of building Microwave Modules (Hybrids) at a rate of at least 1000 Modules a day and at a cost of less than $400 each. The intent was to use this module in a low cost active array radar system that was as good as or better than the current radar systems found in today’s aircraft.
Hughes calculated it could meet the Air Force challenge by using the right mix of technology and people. A proposal team of experts from all areas of engineering and manufacturing, including a group of quality engineers was pulled together. From the start, the program management understood the need to design and build quality into the product. In our case management decided to get involved and stay involved supplying momentum to this quality effort throughout the program. They felt that a new management approach was needed to obtain high rates, low cost, and maintain the product quality and reliability. Management believed that by insuring quality in the product, rework and scrap would be reduced or eliminated, which would cause yields to increase and reduce costs to our customers. This new approach required quality involvement at every stage of the program. Involvement at the proposal writing stage, to designing of the module, to high rate production of the final product. The quality team introduced the rest of the staff to Quality Function Deployment (QFD) .
The Hughes team was one of the teams awarded a contract to develop this module production line. The project is now in Phase 1 and 2 of 4, the Module Design for Affordability Manufacturing Phase. Currently there are ten QFD teams developing matrices, with several more teams anticipated before the completion of Phase 4.
WHY QUALITY FUNCTION DEPLOYMENT (QFD) ?
There were three reasons for using QFD on the project: customer requirements, improved communications, and better integration of customer requirements into production requirements. The customer did not specifically call out QFD, but his request for quotes placed a heavy interest in the implementation of a Total Quality Management (TQM) System.
The Department of Defense is restructuring its management system toward a TQM system. Project management envisioned that a team of quality experts could pull together the best tools for the TQM system. The TQM system would require process controls with little or no formal inspection of the product. Convincing the Air Force that the process controlled the product quality and that we had control of the process would be critical.
In addition, the product needed to be characterized by a high rate process that could be manufactured at a low cost. Both of these require designing quality into the product. Designers now realized they had another customer, process or manufacturing engineering. To address these diverse customer requirements and not lose sight of the external customer needs, QFD became a major element of the TQM system.
The second reason for QFD -communications -became apparent right at the start of writing the proposal. We, the internal customers, were transmitting complex information (Whats) and ideas (Hows) thousands of miles, from Delco in Indiana, to Hughes in California, to General Electric in New York, to AT&T in Pennsylvania, to Pacific Monolithics in California, to Hughes in Arizona, and then back again. A tool was needed to keep the team focused and on track with the customers needs. Team members familiar with QFD knew that QFD could fill this need. The matrix structure of QFD allowed each team member to bring his or her expertise to the table and have direct input into the design and manufacture of the module. Everyone’s contributions were recorded on the matrix and reviewed by the team through this process, lines of communication were clearly established and exploited. Once completed the matrix represented the best of all areas that met both the internal and external customer needs.
The final reason for QFD is better integration of customer requirements into production requirements. QFD requires teamwork and simultaneous engineering since each company, group, and department involved in building the product is another smaller, but just as important; customer. As customers they have wants (or Whats) that need to be filled by their suppliers. Design engineering can always design a product that the external customer wants but if manufacturing cannot produce it, in volume and at a low cost, then the company will fail in its attempt to produce the product. In our case we already had a working product, but it was too costly and volumes were too low to meet our external customer requirements. Some of this excess cost and time was due to old technology, but most was due to a lack of understanding of the internal customers (other companies, groups, and departments) requirements. Through teamwork and simultaneous engineering each area was represented on the QFD team. Each area had an input into how we were to meet our external customers needs (Whats), as well as that external customer (see Fig. 1) . Included were the difficulties associated with each “How” so that the team could decide the optimal approach for solving and meeting our customers needs.
The primary resource needed was our experts and their time to work on the team activities. The first matrix developed was the “Requirements Matrix” which laid the foundation for development of new teams and matrices. Several of the Requirement Matrix team members were on subsequent matrix teams. In fact, at least one member of the Requirements Matrix team is found on every team developed. This aided in keeping the voice of the customer moving into and through each subsequent matrix. Each team is made up of four to thirteen members. As each team became larger, it was harder for that team to reach a consensus. with the size of each team being restricted, it was extremely important that we selected the right team members. Each team member had to bring to the team an expertise that was unique and important in fulfilling the teams goals. On our Requirements Matrix we had thirteen team members from the areas listed in Table 1.
Each member received four to eight hours of training on QFD before any work started on the matrix development. In fact everyone working on the program was given this training. In some cases, a second day of training was included. On the second day, Taguchi methods of Design of Experiments was covered. A select few went through several weeks of Design of Experiments (DOE) training covering Taguchi, Box, and Shainin methods. This extensive training augmented the QFD process. Once trained, the teams met for two hours twice a week, which often requires the use of other Quality Tools such as DOE, until the initial matrix was completed in about two to three months. Thereafter, the frequency and duration were reduced to an as needed basis. Currently once every two weeks the House of Quality team formally meets to update the matrix. This matrix maintenance will continue for the life of the program. QFD is never completed, it is continuously refined and improved.
|TABLE I: House of Quality Team Composition|
|Design Engineering||System Engineering|
|Process Engineering||Material Office|
|Test Engineering||Reliability Engineering|
|Contract Office||Engineering Program Office (2 Individuals)|
|Quality Engineering||Business Office|
|Manufacturing Engineering||QFD Facilitator (Quality)|
The program TQM (QFD) facilitators were trained in two basic approaches to QFD. The two were the American Standards Institute (ASI) approach, which uses a few large matrices, and the GOAL/QPC approach, which uses several smaller matrices (see Fig. 2) . Adhering to a principle stated by Bob King (President of GOAL/QPC) , we used “the pieces” of both methods that worked best for us. Our method employed a foundation of one small matrix (the Requirements Matrix) .The matrix was developed to gain the “Voice of the Customer” and determine critical design requirements (see Fig. 3) .Then a functional tree diagram was developed to aid in selecting design concepts and technologies to be used for each function. At this stage, about ten specialized materials matrices were developed. These matrices were used in trading off different design concepts or for developing the processes to be used with the above technology. In retrospect, we trained our teams basically in the ASI approach and used more of a GOAL/QPC approach in the- actual designs.
1. TQM system (understand that TQM includes QFD)
2. The requirement for a low cost module (less than $400.00)
3. The requirement for a high rate manufacturing operation (over 1000 modules per day)
As mentioned before, these three elements of the request for bid sent a direct message to management: control of product quality is mandatory. Thus management supported the quality group efforts for training and implementation of the TQM system which included QFD. without managements support and active participation, QFD had no real chance of being effective.
A second obstacle was the resistance to change that was felt from many areas or departments involved. QFD was new to each area and that usually means resistance to change. Most have found ways of doing their job, and doing it fairly effectively. They understood that things could be improved but unless “others” followed suit, their efforts would be wasted. Management led the way, convincing others that all involved should listen and learn the tools needed to complete their jobs in the best possible way. Management also participated in both the training and design of the matrices. This role modeling had high payoffs. Engineers entered the training with open minds and exited with new tools to help them do their job better. The program, in turn, now had a new way of doing business.
Do we still find resistance? Yes, some. Just when one group thinks it is finished and does not need the QFD matrices, it discovers other ways to improve the process. This means reassessing the QFD matrices to see how the new approach will effect the overall system and the customer needs. There is also resistance by the teams to integrate their jobs with other TQM tools such as DOE and SPC. Although many are using QFD in their jobs, other elements remain to be integrated. There are elements in the lower level QFD’s that only a DOE will show the true interaction between. It is a logical step that tends to be missed. Our planned solution is to train the staff sufficiently in DOE to make that logical step, and then do the same for SPC.
To date, the QFD effort has been very successful. All the disciplines involved in the program have been trained on QFD, and over 10 teams (matrices) have been developed or are being worked (see Fig. 4). The QFD process has also been very successful at helping us truly hear and understand the voice of the customer. By clearly and effectively communicating with the customer through the QFD process, we are now better equipped to satisfy his needs. QFD is definitely putting us and our customer in the “win-win” situation. QFD is also fostering teamwork and simultaneous engineering, the benefits of which are always desirable.
Even though we have been very successful there have been failures. Some teams staggered because of unclear problem and goal definitions. It is very important that this definition be done when the team is first organized. An overall lack of experience by our team members and facilitators was another problem. This was overcome largely by the robustness of the QFD process and the creativity and cooperation of the team members. We also discovered that the size of the matrices and the number of team members must be manageable. As the matrices get larger, and the participants increase, evaluating all the relationships becomes overwhelming. Although the size of the matrix varies and must not be reduced only to reduce the workload, a 25 by 25 matrix is very manageable and capable of yielding excellent results.
As mentioned earlier another failure was the lack of integration of all the quality tools into the engineer’s daily job. Only further training and time will tell if we fail at this task. However, successful and full integration of all the quality tools into the engineer’s daily job will assure quality is being built into the’ product the first time.
The program is still in the development stage with a lot of paper being scrapped, but no losses of materials and no unusable production equipment purchased. The manufacturing matrices are being developed with the controls and verification matrices roughed out. By the middle of 1990, most of the QFD matrices should be complete, with only continuous maintenance needed to sustain their impact on the program. The first production part should be coming off the new process and an evaluation of the benefits of the whole TQM system can start. We anticipate that a few adjustments to both the process and the QFD matrices will be made to assure our efforts, and product, reflect our customers needs.
1.) American Supplier Institute, Quality Function DeDloY!l1ent OFD. Dearborn,MI. ASI Press 1988
2.) King, Bob, Better Designs In Half the Time. First Ed. Methuen,MA: GOAL/QPC, 1987
3.) Re Velle, Jack B., The New Quality Technology. Los Angeles,CA: Hughes Aircraft Company, 1988
Well there you have my use of Quality Fuction Deployment and the House of Quaoity. If, you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, emailing me, calling me, or leaving a comment on my website.
We can all celebrate a milestone in the field of performance excellence, as President Barack Obama and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced that seven organizations are the recipients of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest Presidential honor for innovation and performance excellence.
Reviving Healthcare– Article Review
This article talks about Don Berwick M.D. who is being considered to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. Through his work at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement he has advanced quality in healthcare.
His feelings is that clinicians simply do not think about the delivery of healthcare as happening with in a system. Doctors give great diagnosis. But that diagnosis is only as good as the system that brought him the data to review. There are labs and technicians that get sent materials to analysis. What if things get mixed up or not done well. Those are all part of the system that the clinician does not think about.
Berwick’s long time vision as a solution to Americans healthcare is a three pronged systems approach. These three prongs, called the Triple Aim, are:
- “Improve the individual experience of care.”
- “Improving the health of populations.”
- “Reducing the per capita costs of care for populations.”
The Barriers he sees to this success include:
- “Supply-Driven Demand.”
- “New technologies, including many with limited impact on outcomes.”
- “Physician-centric care.”
- Little or no Foreign competition to spur domestic change.”
If we agree that the current U.S. healthcare system is unsustainable and that the Triple Aim is the right approach there are three design components needed to reach success:
- “Recognition of a population as the unit of concern.”
- “Externally supplied policy constraints.”
- “An integrator to focus and coordinate services to help the population on all three dimensions at once.”
I really do feel that the US healthcare industry can not be sustained and needs major changes. This article make me feel that Berwick would be a great head for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and at last some one might start fixing this industry. I hope he succeeds.
As always if, you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, emailing me, calling me, or leaving a comment on my website.
 Charles Kenney, “Reviving Healthcare,” Quality Progress, Vol. 43, No. 7, July 2010, pp. 30-35,
Note: The website above is on the American Society for Quality website and to access it you need to be a member. But there are way to purchase the article from ASQ.
Created by Congress in 1987, the Baldrige National Quality Program
exists to help organizations like yours improve their performance and
succeed in the competitive global marketplace. We are the first and
only public-private partnership and Presidential award program
dedicated to improving U.S. organizations.
Manufacturing – Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technology
Small Business – MidwayUSA
Health Care – AtlantiCare and Heartland Health
Nonprofit – VA Cooperative Studies Program Clinical Research Pharmacy Coordinating Center
Check them out and Congratulations to all !!
Six Sigma Master Black Belt
Today a friend sent me this article “Where Process-Improvement Projects Go Wrong” from the Wall Street Journal. The author seems to feel that most Lean Six Sigma projects fail, but has some very interesting lessons learned.
I agree with your article when it comes to how weight-loss and Six Sigma fail. They both do fail just like a spring, But I disagree with how often they fail. I have seen and read hundreds of successful projects that show Six Sigma successes[i]. I have not read them but I feel there are probably just as many in weight loss success as well. Yes some are successful in several projects before the “fad” wears off, but what really makes them fail. Both Weight Loss and Six Sigma, failure is due to a lack of commitment to a cultural change not just a few projects. I think you found that out too in your lessons learned[ii].
Lets look at your four lessons learned:
- “…the extended involvement of a Six Sigma or other improvement expert is required of teams are to remain motivated.” This is very true. IF the Expert is pulled on any improvement project usually it means failure. Where you have a company that has committed to a Six Sigma cultural change, pulling the expert means closure of the project and an explanation from top management (not a lower level) of the reason it is no longer a viable or priority project. All Six Sigma project should be a high priority project.
- “…performance appraisals need to be tied to successful implementation of improvement projects.” This also is true. Every project, in a company committed to a Six Sigma cultural change, has a sponsor who insures that the project is aligned to company goals and objectives that directly impact his or her departments performance. This means failure of the project is failure to meet the goals that they have committed to and YES their performance appraisals are tied to the success of those goals and the perforance of their department.
- “… improvement teams should have no more than six to nine members and the timeline for launching a project should be no longer than six to eight weeks.” Since every project should be aligned to key company goals, it would mean that top management would what this project done NOW and not later. Delay would only cost the company money. If that is not the case the project should be dropped. By the way the “DEFINE[iii]” step helps insure this IF it is done right. Also in Define not only is the start decided but also the expected completion date and team membership. People, the most important resource of a company, need to be allocated to maximize their skills. In Six Sigma teams need to be small (5-10) so that the rest of the company can meet its customers demands. Even that many has a big impact on a department. So each team has to be carefully selected to represent all that will be impacted, but large enough to accomplish the task in the time allotted. This is all done in DEFINE with the “expert” and the Sponsor.
- “…executives need to directly participate in improvement projects, not just “support” them.” When a company has truly committed to this cultural change and deployed Six Sigma properly you will find every project has a director-level sponsor identified, duties specified, and sufficient time committed and scheduled in advance. Here the sponsor is part of the project team. That is how important the project is to the company.
If Six Sigma is implemented right as a business cultural change in the way they address issue and problems that hold them back from achieving their goals, then everyone get the idea and a voice. It becomes an improvement method everyone is focused on, understands and likes because they have an input into the process.
Quality Progress, American Society for Quality, www.quality progress.com
Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare, Lionheart Publishing Inc., www.psqh.com/digital
Quality Digest, Quality Digest, http://www.qualitydigest.com/content/six-sigma
Quality in Healthcare, ASQ Healthcare Division, www.asq.org/qhc
The Quality Management Forum, ASQ Quality Management Division, www.asq-qm.org
[ii] Where Process-Improvement Projects Go Wrong, Wall Street Journal | Business, January 5, 2010, http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB20001424052748703298004574457471313938130-lMyQjAyMTAwMDIwNTEyNDUyWj.html
[iii] The First step of DMAIC – Define, Peter Bersbach, Bersbach Consulting, October 27, 2009, http://www.sixsigmatrainingconsulting.com/uncategorized/the-first-step-of-dmaic-%e2%80%93-define/
I just finished a reading an article titled “The “Third School” for Controlling Health Care Costs?” and I found it very exciting to read. In it, he talks about “System Reformers” that once were focused on improving Quality and now are focused on Quality and controlling costs. I have worked in manufacturing for years and our Quality Organizations were just that focused on “Improving Quality”. In today’s world that has changed for the better with the coming of Six Sigma a process focused on improving quality and reducing costs. I believe these reformers Altman talks about are the same.
I know some people do not like the words Six Sigma and that is because what they were told was Six Sigma did not work. There maybe several definition out there but the one I know that is working is Six Sigma is a 5 step process based on facts and data focused on customer value to grow the business. Six Sigma Belts are change agents/ System Reformers trying to create value for the customer/ patient by reducing costs (which speaks to management) and improving value (Quality). Even in manufacturing Quality Improvement never got a high priority until Quality Professionals started talking money.
I agree with Altman real cost containment and control never really comes from outside the box through regulations by the “Regulators” nor from competing health care plans and informed consumers per the “Marketeers”. It has to come from inside the box through what he calls the “System Reformer”. The True Reformer/ Change agent will be focused on creating value for all stakeholders (Stockholders, Employees/ Care Givers, and Customers/ Patients). They have to create value, NOT costs, and it can be done one area/ company at a time. The big issue will be working these change across different organizations. Again, though, manufacturing did this by working with its suppliers and customers to help them apply the same to their groups.
I believe that all of the serious questions he mentions about the System Reformers success can be addressed. Will the System Reformer approach be successful? I would answer YES! At least to all that embrace its approach. The results, from these companies, will drive others to do the same. That is how Six Sigma became as successful as it has. At first many company did not embraces Six Sigma but with time and successes at their competition, many now do. And a lot of those are in the Fortune 500.
I see the System Reformer as the only true way to get cost under control.
Six Sigma Master Black Belt
 Drew Altman, PhD, “The “Third School” for Controlling Health Care Costs?”, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation www.kff.org , Oct 29 2009, http://www.kff.org/pullingittogether/102909_altman.cfm