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Losing faith in ability to succeed

T

techrat

#1
Need some encouragement..... maybe some success stories on turning around small/medium sized precision machining businesses with significant quality problems.
My situation:
Fell into quality leadership for precision machining company whose manufacturing leadership dismantled quality department less final inspection about a year ago and has been struggling with quality issues since.
Process Monitoring in place: Minimal
Process operators: Little training, non-english speaking
My Quality Initiatives: Don't happen if I don't a.)Do the actions myself b.) complain often to manufacturing management.

I need to start networking with some people that have been a part of a quality turn-around maybe get some mentoring, words of encouragement, advice

Feel free to ask me questions, I am glad to elaborate, I need help
 
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G

Greg B

#2
techrat said:
Need some encouragement..... maybe some success stories on turning around small/medium sized precision machining businesses with significant quality problems.
My situation:
Fell into quality leadership for precision machining company whose manufacturing leadership dismantled quality department less final inspection about a year ago and has been struggling with quality issues since.
Process Monitoring in place: Minimal
Process operators: Little training, non-english speaking
My Quality Initiatives: Don't happen if I don't a.)Do the actions myself b.) complain often to manufacturing management.

I need to start networking with some people that have been a part of a quality turn-around maybe get some mentoring, words of encouragement, advice

Feel free to ask me questions, I am glad to elaborate, I need help
Tech,

Welcome to the Cove The ultimate Quality 'Network' experience. I have, and I bet many others that respond have also, been in the same predicament.
"We want Quality"..."Don't annoy us with the incidentals just make it happen and ensure that the Quality of our products increases"... "Keep doing you old job and stand by because we may have some other tasks for you to complete during you lunch breaks or weekends"..."We aren't going to throw any money at you or increase your resources"..."Quality is your problem - No-one else's" Does this sound about right?

You really have to start at the basics.
Have you done an introduction course on 9001? You need to understand the requirements before you start. Try and get some management or other senior people on the course.
Have you done an Internal Auditors course? You will need to evaluate and monitor what you have.
Do you have experience in Flowcharting or Process Mapping? You need to map out your 'big picture' processes. What do we do? Purchasing, Manufacturing, Development etc
How do you track your Non Conformances etc? You cannot improve what you cannot measure. IMHO Buy and Read Craig Cochrans Book on 'Continuous Improvement'. Here is my Review
http://elsmar.com/Forums/showpost.php?p=77123&postcount=5. and Craig's post: http://elsmar.com/Forums/showpost.php?p=67436&postcount=1

Does the company next door have accreditation? Go and talk to them - In my experience, ALL QA people want to talk about their system and see what other people are doing.

Here is my latest presentation for the basics to my operators:
http://elsmar.com/Forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=2161

Here is my NC Procedure
http://elsmar.com/Forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=1868

Search the cove for any topic that you want help on. You will be flooded with responses. I don't envy you but rest assured others have been in the same place. I hope this helps in some way. Good luck

Greg B
 

DannyK

Trusted Information Resource
#3
One of the best ways to make Management notice is by showing them the cost of returns, nonconformances, etc...

You have to speak their language and justify it to them.

I have worked with several companies that had no system and within a few years had grown tremendously due to the discipline, structure and tools that the quality system provided.

Good luck,

Danny
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
#4
High tech machining - the beginning

techrat said:
Need some encouragement..... maybe some success stories on turning around small/medium sized precision machining businesses with significant quality problems.
My situation:
Fell into quality leadership for precision machining company whose manufacturing leadership dismantled quality department less final inspection about a year ago and has been struggling with quality issues since.
Process Monitoring in place: Minimal
Process operators: Little training, non-english speaking
My Quality Initiatives: Don't happen if I don't a.)Do the actions myself b.) complain often to manufacturing management.

I need to start networking with some people that have been a part of a quality turn-around maybe get some mentoring, words of encouragement, advice

Feel free to ask me questions, I am glad to elaborate, I need help
I know this situation well. I took a bankrupt "do anything" contract machine shop and turned it into a multimillion dollar showpiece high tech contract machining company (routine tolerance +0.0005/-0.0000 inches, cpk 2.0 or better) with three narrow niche markets: sensors, aerospace, medical devices.

Falling right in with the current ISO thinking, our most important quality driver was demand by our most desirable prospects, whom we converted to customers.

Frankly, nothing will work unless your company ownership AND leadership are on board the same train.

Just because there are customers who will exploit your company, they are probably nowhere near as profitable as the ones who want to PARTNER with your company so that the burden of their incoming quality inspection can be eased with confidence YOUR company will deliver conforming product.

The ONLY way to give that confidence is to document your production with in-process inspection, SPC, and INSTANT customer service when any question arises.

Done intelligently, with good planning and execution, you CAN safely eliminate FINAL inspection if you have in-process and SPC charting in place and documented so any competent stranger can look at the records and feel confident the end product is good. We ran 24/7, and 12 hours of every day were "lights out." We had all the toys and tools for First Article Inspection. We regularly performed PPAP and FMEA. We shared our Control Plan with each customer before we cut one chip. We had a 100% open door policy and provided each customer with a schedule of when his part would run so he could send an observer to watch.

When we sent an inspection sheet, we sent a tagged sample together with the name of the type of instrument used for each measurement so the customer could check exactly the same part in the same way. The inspection process and instrumentation was pre-agreed with the customer as part of the Control Plan.

Every operator was empowered to stop the process (his or someone else's) until he could confer with a colleague or supervisor whenever a question arose.

When our operators saw both we and our customers were obsessed with quality, they bought in, since there was no discrepancy between word and deed on anyone's part.

All our operators were also members of our total Material Review Board (MRB), (incoming from suppliers and returns from customers or internal questions before product was shipped) though we only needed a quorum to proceed. Rarely did we get a return of a questioned part, but if we did, the entire workforce took it as a personal obligation to resolve the issue as soon as possible. "Bandaid" fixes were not tolerated.

Suggestions for your first steps:
  1. Ask for a private meeting with owners if it is a closely held company. If no owners, then top management (not just manufacturing manager)
  2. At the meeting, ask who they want to satisfy for quality procedures (the quality driver) and why. (this can be a pet customer or a prospective customer they haven't been able to convert)
  3. Ask for a meeting with quality driver to get parameters of what is expected
  4. Prepare a plan
  5. Get approval of plan (including the proposed budget) from your management before taking it to quality driver for approval
  6. If quality driver approves plan, start to implement
The plan should definitely provide for real input and continuing oversight from a top manager in your company with enough authority to make it stick.

Since your operators have little training, their training for in-process inspection has to be part of the plan. Final "detection" is worthless if the process is out of control because you will have wasted money making scrap BEFORE you know it's scrap.

Since you are in the U.S., it wouldn't be out of line to bring in an ESL teacher to upgrade the English skills of your operators. Odds are it will be less than hiring a new workforce, plus there are government programs which can subsidize the cost. Extra benefit might result from public relations of the tactic.

Consider using lots of flow charts and cartoons with more pictures than words for training and work instructions. Many companies here in the midwest have found many of their non-English speaking employees are nearly illiterate in their native language and certainly illiterate for technical terms. Note they are illiterate, not dumb. They can and will learn when given the opportunity and the right tools.

Hey, we're always here to answer good questions like yours, techrat. Welcome :bigwave: to the Cove.
 
Last edited:

RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#5
Welcome to the Cove, techrat! :bigwave:

It's sounds like you have a wonderful opportunity to help turn your team around! I'm actually envious!

The others have given some great advice and I think that much of it can be combined to help you formulate a plan on how to start encouraging some positive changes where you work.

Always remember to speak the language of the audience. With Management, they like numbers...they want to know what the bottom line is going to cost them. The Operators want to know how the changes will impact them.
 
#6
Techrat,
When starting in a new position the first thing that you need is "direction". The one thing that has always been helpful to me is to ask the question "What do you expect of me". Once you have the direction then you can prepare a companywide presentation and concentrate on the highpoints.
The first step you take in your new position will be the most important and will reflect on everything else you do.
Some basics;
- Select small projects to implement your ideas. They have quick turnaround and help build confidence on both sides,
- Top management language is money. Show that your ideas are value-added.
- Choose your battles carefully. Control only those things that you own.
Report those that you do not own.
- There is more than one way to accomplish a task.
- The past is the past. Don't dwell on incidents that happened yesterday or last week.
- And most important; Don't take your work home.
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#7
Wes Bucey said:
Frankly, nothing will work unless your company ownership AND leadership are on board the same train.

When our operators saw both we and our customers were obsessed with quality, they bought in, since there was no discrepancy between word and deed on anyone's part.
Techrat,

I highlighted what I think are the most important parts of Wes' fine post.

You are in a good news bad news situation. The bad news is quality stinks and the "manufacturing leadership" obviously did not understand the importance of doing quality right. The culture is bad. The good news is that perhaps they have learned the error of their ways first hand and now are finally ready to try something else with an open mind. The question is do they want a band-aid approach, or do they want you to be solely responsible for quality (both approaches that will yield relatively poor results), or if they really want to do it right. This is the biggest hurdle of all in my experience. The technical challenges will pale in comparison. Get the right degree of buy-in all around and you're 50% of the way there, IMO.
 
#9
First of all techrat, welcome to the Cove :bigwave: I hope we can help you a bit. I think many (most?) of us have been in your or some similar situation, so:
  1. You are not alone
  2. It can be done
  3. I have seen it happen. That gives a lot of moral fibre for next time.
techrat said:
I need to start networking with some people that have been a part of a quality turn-around maybe get some mentoring, words of encouragement, advice

Feel free to ask me questions, I am glad to elaborate, I need help
Right. On we go:
  1. If I'm reading you right, the Q Dep consists of you and final inspection... Or does the final inspection belong to production?
  2. Do you know why the Q dep was dismantled?
  3. You have been struggling with quality issues since the change. What are those issues (the major ones), and how much has the situation deteriorated since the change? Any figures?
  4. Who performs the process monitoring in place (minimal as it is)?
  5. What competence (apart from language) would the operators need?
  6. What about their managers training?
  7. What kind of quality initiatives are we talking about?
  8. What were the tasks you were given when you entered this job?
/Claes
 
A

Al Dyer

#10
Techrat,

Again, Welcome!

Very good advice has been posted. There is also another thought to be considered when all else fails. Keep your resume updated.

I do believe there are methods to explore to "bring" the company thought process around and it does happen. When it does there is a great feeling of accomplishment and worth. If it doesn't there is still a feeling of accomplishment in that we tried our hardest but it may be time to move along. Life is short so make the best of it.

Please, keep us posted!!!

Al...
 
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