Kevin Meyer’s picture

By: Kevin Meyer

Established in 1903, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company grew rapidly during the two world wars. Foreign competition hit the industry early, and by 1953 Harley-Davidson was the last remaining major motorcycle manufacturer in the United States.

Harley was bought by AMF in 1969 and by the late 1970s they were on the block again, thanks to a sharp reduction in sales because of poor quality levels. In 1981, 13 Harley executives purchased the company from AMF, and an overall reduction in the motorcycle market drove additional production cuts.

The company almost went bankrupt in 1985, but CEO Richard Teerlink persuaded lenders to accept a restructuring plan that included the application of “Japanese management principles,” in effect the Toyota Production System or lean manufacturing. A temporary and reducing tariff on large imported motorcycles created a brief time window for the turnaround.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

Dairy plants are among the heaviest users of municipal water in the United States, using two gallons of water for every gallon of consumer product produced. The clean-in-place (CIP) systems that daily wash and sanitize every truck, tank, pipe and surface in the plant use the greatest amount of that precious water and waste the most as well. The cost of CIP water is high, because much of it has to be heated, chemicals must be added to it and cities levy charges for the use of municipal drain systems. A typical CIP system pushes water and chemicals through dairy plant equipment at 100–200 gallons per minute, although the required rate of flow (5–6 ft per second) across processing surfaces can be accomplished with much less water. Until recently, few companies even knew how long this flow should continue to ensure complete cleaning. It’s common for dairy manufacturers to deal with even minor quality problems that may be CIP-related by increasing time in each step of the CIP wash-and-rinse programs. Most of this water—and sometimes all of it—makes one pass through the equipment and then goes straight to drain. For each minute added to the wash in an attempt to correct quality, another 100–200 gallons of hot water go down the drain. In cleaning a typical dairy plant, three or four steps of each CIP program run water to drain.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

Dairy plants are among the heaviest users of municipal water in the United States, using two gallons of water for every gallon of consumer product produced. The clean-in-place (CIP) systems that daily wash and sanitize every truck, tank, pipe and surface in the plant use the greatest amount of that precious water and waste the most as well.
The cost of CIP water is high, because much of it has to be heated, chemicals must be added to it and cities levy charges for the use of municipal drain systems. A typical CIP system pushes water and chemicals through dairy plant equipment at 100–200 gallons per minute, although the required rate of flow (5–6 ft per second) across processing surfaces can be accomplished with much less water. Until recently, few companies even knew how long this flow should continue to ensure complete cleaning.

Craig Cochran’s picture

By: Craig Cochran

Last year I had the good fortune of doing some consulting with B&C Specialty Products in Hopeulikit, Georgia. B&C does light manufacturing, primarily plastic molding and assembly, and they also distribute imported products produced by companies in the Far East. They have about 150 employees and are by far the biggest employer in Hopeulikit.
B&C was a perfect place to learn about managing and quality. Every day presented a new lesson. Usually the lessons were hard-learned, and those are the ones that really stick with you. B&C was gracious enough to allow me to interview their personnel about things that came up during my time there. Here is an interesting lesson: Don’t rely on traditional customer surveys. The scenario is described by the people who actually lived it.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

The hiring practices of manufacturing companies have become increasingly lean. The old processes of advertising, screening, interviewing, hiring and training are riddled with waste; it’s both too expensive and extremely time-consuming. The hiring shift to staffing companies has become increasingly cost-effective and an efficient, lean shortcut for manufacturers to acquire the right people with the right skills at the right price. Many executives are examining their hiring practices, training practices and employee retention rates as their enterprisewide lean initiatives land at the door of the human resources (HR) department. The plant floor, back office and most other aspects of the company have been evaluated for elimination of waste, but HR hasn’t.The rationale for this hiring process shift isn’t the same throughout all industrial sectors, nor is the quality of each placement organization the same. Generic placement organizations that can place a warm body in a position at the last minute often prove more costly and wasteful than the staffing organizations that recognize the specific personnel requirements and nuances of an industry.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

The hiring practices of manufacturing companies have become increasingly lean. The old processes of advertising, screening, interviewing, hiring and training are riddled with waste; it’s both too expensive and extremely time-consuming. The hiring shift to staffing companies has become increasingly cost-effective and an efficient, lean shortcut for manufacturers to acquire the right people with the right skills at the right price. Many executives are examining their hiring practices, training practices and employee retention rates as their enterprisewide lean initiatives land at the door of the human resources (HR) department. The plant floor, back office and most other aspects of the company have been evaluated for elimination of waste, but HR hasn't. The rationale for this hiring process shift isn’t the same throughout all industrial sectors, nor is the quality of each placement organization the same. Generic placement organizations that can place a warm body in a position at the last minute often prove more costly and wasteful than the staffing organizations that recognize the specific personnel requirements and nuances of an industry.

Rick Ringlespaugh’s default image

By: Rick Ringlespaugh

A tier-two automotive supplier faces the challenge of interacting with customers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on many different programs. For each of more than 100 programs the company is involved in, it must submit a detailed quality plan and then be prepared to change the plan as customers’ and OEMs’ designs and requirements change. In addition, the supplier must meet a complicated series of milestones for each project when submitting documentation and products. In the past, the company’s quality team spent an enormous amount of time complying with these requirements.

The company has been able to substantially reduce the time required to prepare documents, manage the flow of paper, and manage each program by implementing a service-based software utility and application software that automate most of the routine aspects of this process. The company uses software designed specially to expedite the creation of production part approval process (PPAP) documents by automatically synchronizing the duplicated sections of different documents, formatting documents in the required style, and automating the approval and revision tracking process. A service-based utility automates the process of submitting PPAPs, communicating changes, and managing tasks and scheduling with customers.

Nicholas Muthuri’s default image

By: Nicholas Muthuri

Lean was initially started in manufacturing and production departments, and various efforts are being made to apply its principles in service industries. In a highly industrialized world spurred by high technological changes, businesses are forced to change their strategies to a more lean way of doing things to survive in the market. In the 1980s products were produced in batches and bulk, and overproduction or lack of market for the products became the biggest problem. In the book The Toyota Way (McGraw-Hill, 2006) Jeffrey Liker points out that Toyota considers overproduction to be the worst of the seven types of waste because it leads to other types of waste: inventory, movement, handling, hidden defects, etc.

Mike Micklewright’s picture

By: Mike Micklewright

In the past several months, registrar auditors strongly recommended to three former or current clients that they develop and install turtle diagrams for each of their processes. Two auditors from one registrar actually taught a former client how to develop a turtle diagram during a surveillance audit.

In the stand-up quality comedy routine that I perform for ASQ’s section meetings, conferences and corporate events, I reveal my sarcastic list of “seven basic habits of highly effective registrar auditors.” Habit no.2 is, “Inform the auditee that you aren’t allowed to give advice, and then give advice.” I then reveal a double-billed cap, and say that, in the spirit of ISO 9001 clause 7.5.3, “Identification and traceability,” registrar auditors should be required to identify their service at the time of provision.

So, when auditors are auditing, they should show the “auditor” side of the cap. As soon as they start giving advice, they should flip the cap around and show the word “consultant.” Registrar auditors must not give advice, because by doing so, they lose their objectivity.

Theysan Kasirajan’s default image

By: Theysan Kasirajan

Editor’s note: We’re intrigued by this article, in which the author posits the idea of "Theozen," the author’s term for a God-based approach to quality.

Most of us have some sort of spiritual belief, whether it’s part of an organized religion such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and so forth, or whether it’s home grown, based on our own experience of God. If we function within some sort of spiritual context, there’s no way to leave that behind, that is, to have a "work" persona and a "spiritual" persona. We are who we are and everything that encompasses. So the question often arises, how does our perception of God (or pick a phrase of your choice) influence our worklife, or, as this article explains, the quality of our work.

The author is writing from his own religious perspective, and this is what he brings to his workplace. What perspective, spiritual or otherwise, do you bring to your workplace? How does it affect the quality of what you do?

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