Using Six Sigma to Modernize Our Company
American Military University
Table of Contents
Proposed Process for Change
Times are changing in the world of automotive manufacturing. As global markets emerge, new methods, materials, and quality control standards have come to light that will directly impact how our business will be seen in the industry. While our manufacturing methodology allows us to manufacture somewhat economically, many areas of improvement exist that we need to address in an orderly manner starting with our automotive manufacturing line itself. Quite simply, it is outdated and needs to be overhauled in order to become more efficient. Along with efficiency, the processes in place for quality control need addressing as well, and will need to be incorporated into the new line simultaneously. These two items, while being costly to change, will define us as we move into the new century and beyond.
Current Methods Leading to Change
Our current methods are clearly archaic, a direct line from the original ideas of Henry Ford himself, labor intensive, poorly arranged, and a model of inefficiency. For example, we can manufacture one model per product line at a time; compare that to our rivals, HisCars, Incorporated, who can manufacture 5 models per manufacturing plant simultaneously and there is clearly area for improvement. The acceptance of flawed machines hurts our sales, hurts our profits, and threatens company survivability itself.
Our car manufacturing plant, for example, requires a retooling each time an engine change is ordered by a customer slowing down the line, with impacts felt by all involved. Additionally, when defects are noticed by an assemblyman, they have to find a supervisor who determines if it will be repaired or replaced. This allows many bad products to make it through to the customer who doesn’t appreciate it at all. This needs an almost immediate solution to improve manufacturing and customer satisfaction.
While the retooling example may seem extreme, it’s a valid look at how behind the time our company is. Compare that to HisCar, Inc. with their target goal of 1100 cars per day per plant. This is possible with their adoption of new techniques and adoption of technology to automate as much manufacturing as possible. Simply put, we can’t compete against this level with our current techniques.
Our outdated parts requirements, manufacturing methods, and floor layout design must be addressed or it will lead us on a short road to extinction.
To implement this change to Six Sigma levels, a complete overhaul must be accomplished; but be accomplished strategically and fiscally soundly.
The first requirement is a relook at our manufacturing plants. This part of the DMAIC (Peter S. Pande, 2000) process is the define stage and is probably the most important. We must define how we are going to redesign our processes in the manufacturing of our cars and trucks. Teams will look into all aspects of manufacturing, from floor layout to skills required per task in order to redesign our ideal manufacturing plant most efficiently.
The next stage of our DMAIC process (Peter S. Pande, 2000) is the measurement of our current processes in order to identify bottlenecks and validate the data sets. Our actual performance compared to requirements will be looked at honestly, and hard, factual data will be used to measure the key steps of making our products. Once we have evaluated our processes at assembly plants we will proceed to the next phase, analyze.
The analysis of the collected data will be used to look for...
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