Industry Forum

Published: May 2021

Why it’s time to problem-solve problem-solving, urges Adam Woodward, Principal Engineer – Automotive Management Systems at SMMT QMD.

Any wholesale transition to a new set of rules and requirements takes time to bed in. Who can believe that we are now four years into the IATF 16949 quality management standard?

At this stage, many companies are navigating their way through the first re-certification cycle, an in-depth assessment covering all of the IATF 16949 requirements ideally in person, Covid restrictions permitting – following surveillance audits during the first two years. If successful, a new IATF 16949 certificate is issued with a three year duration.

To help automotive manufacturers remain compliant, SMMT QMD periodically releases data on nonconformities, the latest publication showing the most common major and minor nonconformities raised globally over the past 12 months.


A problem of problem-solving? 

The past 12 months saw a range of nonconformities highlighted. They include contingency planning, total productive maintenance, customer satisfaction, manufacturing process design output, control planning, and monitoring and measurement of manufacturing processes, among others.

Standing out above the rest, and by a considerable margin however, are ‘nonconformity management and corrective action’ and ‘problem-solving’. These numbers include those minor nonconformities that have been escalated to major as a result of ineffective onsite verification. This escalation requirement also demands the issuance of a new major nonconformity against nonconformity and corrective action.

Why is this such a serious issue? The simple answer is that major nonconformities will result in the automatic suspension of an organisation’s IATF 16949 certification. It also suggests a major risk to the customer, jeopardising the organisation’s ability to be effective at what it does, and potentially, to develop new business. That’s something no manufacturer needs, especially now.

As a reminder, here is what the IATF is looking for – specifically, a documented process for problem solving that prevents recurrence:

  1. Defined approaches for various types and scale of problems.
  2. Containment, interim actions and related activities necessary for control of nonconforming outputs.
  3. Root cause analysis – methodology used, analysis and results.
  4. Implementation of systemic corrective actions, including consideration of their impact on similar processes and products.
  5. Verification of the effectiveness of implemented corrective actions.
  6. Reviewing and updating appropriate documentation.

This needs to be evidenced to IATF auditors, beyond the presentation of such documents – examples of the various processes being used to solve real-world problems are required.

We see a common theme linked to manufacturers being able to show that they understand what the problem is in the first place. Have they taken sufficient time to understand the problem before diving in with solutions?

It is important to maintain a structured approach to find the root cause, rather than just adopting a sticking plaster approach.

Here, culture and messaging from the top is crucial. Managers need to consider whether they are providing their employees with the skills required to problem solve effectively and, critically, allowing them the time to invest in it properly.

There is also something to be said around the type of problem being faced. For example, customer product complaints create a sense of alarm and an urge for immediate action for the organisation, whereas supplier problems, internal audit findings, internal concerns may not be met with the same level of response urgency – this could lead to inconsistencies. Inconsistencies are red flags in the IATF audit process.


How to master problem solving and maintain an effective quality management system

There are plenty of steps your organisation can take to enhance its problem-solving capabilities, in support of the IATF goals.

SMMT QMD and Industry Forum offer a problem solving for IATF 16949 course to help companies prepare themselves to meet the requirements of the standard. It’s a practical approach to problem-solving that focuses on empowering employees with the knowledge of how to address issues.

There are also many known and well-recognised approaches to problem-solving that can help get manufacturers where they need to be.

We offer specialist training, which is specifically aimed at the IATF 16949 context, helping firms to ensure they are ready to meet the requirements of the standard.

We also run courses that support other recurring IATF 16949 nonconformities:

APQP and PPAP Essentials

Statistical Process Control (SPC) Training

Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA) Training

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) for IATF 16949

We want to be as practical and hands-on as possible. Because we see the same themes pop up in relation to nonconformities, our courses are designed to empower your employees with the knowledge they need to apply it decisively in the workplace. This, coupled with our other core tools, will help make your organisation not only compliant, but also more efficient and better-managed.

Problem-solving is a critical component of any successful business, and perhaps something we take for granted in the automotive supply chain world. The aerospace sector has already developed its own industry-wide problem solving standard in the form of AS13000 – this, we believe, could be a sound example to follow in the future.

Given the recurring prominence of problem solving in the non-conformance data released by the SMMT QMD, we would like to understand more about your experience with relation to the discipline. Please complete this short survey. We will publish the findings in our next blog.

Following the national lockdown announcement earlier this week, IF would like to assure its customers that:

  • IF remains open and available to support you through the challenges faced; the team can be contacted via the website or on 0121 717 6600, our standard operating hours are 8:30am to 4:30pm
  • IF will continue to provide training and support remotely, via the highest quality technology solutions
  • As always, the safety of our customers and team is of utmost importance. Therefore, IF continues to provide face to face provision when remote activity is not feasible, work cannot be postponed and only when strict COVID safety measures can be met

Continuity of service and providing the highest quality support when, and how you need it remains IF’s number one priority. Rest assured that the benefit of our experience means that IF is extremely well placed to deal with and support you through the challenges another lockdown brings businesses such as yours. Since March 2020, we have run a successful programme of virtual and remote assessments, consultancy and training services, with outstanding results.

Overview of support IF provides:

  • eLearning and Virtual training including; TPM, QRM, Six Sigma, Leadership, Supply Chain Management and much more
  • Crisis control and contingency planning
  • Urgent provision of resource on customer focused activities
  • Management coaching, mentoring and 1-2-1 support
  • HR consultancy, planning and implementation support services
  • Absence and furlough management
  • Urgent and immediate support for quality and demand challenges
  • Tailored Supplier Development Assessments to ensure your Supply Chain will meet your challenging and rapidly evolving requirements
  • Current state mapping, line balancing and support with adjusting to new volumes

What our customers say:

The participants really enjoyed the live, online Six Sigma course. The new format allowed us to mix participants from various regions (Europe & APAC) without any travel cost. The trainer was great and highly engaged. The course was the right mix of theory and practical exercises. Lots of the things we learned can be applied to improve our processes. Thank you, IF, for giving us the opportunity to continue developing our skills in project management & data analysis during this Covid-19 period which prevented face to face training sessions.

Véronique Tétaz, Group Continuous Improvement Vice President, Imerys

Contact us for more information about how we can support you.

Authored by: Beth Osborne MCIM CMktr, SMMT Industry Forum’s General Manager – Marketing and CX

Beth has held a number of senior strategic roles within a variety of technical industries and sectors. Beth is both a Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Digital Marketing Institute graduate, holding two professional diplomas in marketing as well as maintaining the highly revered chartered marketer status since 2014. At Industry Forum, Beth heads up the external communications function, overseeing the effective planning and implementation of all marketing communications, as well as holding overall accountability for the Sales and Marketing Intelligence and reporting function.

A recent survey, carried out by The Open University, found that half of all UK roles have been affected by the pandemic and that a change in skillset may be required for as many as five million employees. As such, a quarter of the UK workforce is taking part in online training to boost their employability.

In response to this, we have launched both virtual, instructor lead, courses as well as a range of self-directed, introductory ‘e-Learning’ modules, in order to provide a flexible approach to learning, as well as full certification. By investing heavily in the highest quality platforms, we can ensure that we continue to deliver relevant, world-class training across every manufacturing discipline, providing delegates with the same top-quality training that we also provide in person.

Our e-Learning programs consist of a number self-directed, bite-sized modules, providing key, basic information, and are an ideal starting point for employees with little, or no existing knowledge in the subject area, and who want a flexible approach to training. For those with more experience, virtual training is instructor-led and provides a similar experience to face-to-face courses, while reducing the effort and cost of learning for the employer.

Manufacturing employees are able to attend full courses in one session or pick and choose courses and modules, in quality and auditing, maintenance, team leadership, supply chain, new product introduction and project management, based on their specific needs and desired level of certification. Importantly, the courses we’re offering include training to support the latest government-funded NMCL supply chain support programme.

The following courses are suitable for any sector of manufacturing. Details regarding a number of Automotive and Aerospace specific courses can be found via

Virtual, instructor-led courses:

  • Core Tools Certification Training (APQP, FMEA, SPC, MSA and PPAP)
  • Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) Training
  • Sigma Yellow Belt Training
  • Six Sigma Green Belt Training
  • Team Leader Essentials Training
  • New Product Introduction Web Briefing
  • New Product Introduction Essentials Training
  • NPI Project Management Essentials Training
  • Inventory Management Essentials
  • Materials Requirement Planning (MRP) Essentials
  • Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) Essentials

 ‘E-learning’, self-directed online modules:

  • APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)
  • APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)
  • APICS Certified in Logistics, Transportation & Distribution (CLTD)


What did the worms ever do for us?

Published April 2020 

Just speak to any parent of school age children right now, and they will tell you that keeping the kids interested in learning during lockdown, with all the distractions of the home can be challenging, at best. However, we think this is also a rare opportunity to encourage our children to explore a bustling world, teeming with life, from right by the back door!

One way to dive into a whole new and unexplored world, without even leaving the garden is to make a Wormery. This grants a VIP view of the wonderful work of worms. It’s also a really fun activity to do with children of all ages, whilst the sun shines!

Follow these easy steps and share pictures of your wacky underground worlds to @SMMTIF #ifwormery

Materials you will need:

  • 2l plastic drinks bottle (empty and clean)
  • Soil, Compost, Sand
  • Dark coloured plastic bag (a bin bag will do)
  • Scissors / Stanley knife
  • Water spray / watering can
  • Worm food: grated carrot, vegetable peelings, dead leaves, shredded newspaper

NB: Make sure everyone washes their hands carefully after handling worms, compost or soil.

What you need to do:

  1. Firstly, it’s time to hunt for a few worms! The kids will really enjoy this bit. And what better way to get some help with weeding the flower beds? From experience, we recommend that adults supervise any digging to make sure not to lose any of their favourite plants. It’s also worth having a good look under stones or just carefully dig a hole. The kids will be amazed how easy the worms are to find.
  2. Next, remove the label from the bottle and cut the top off. This is a job for an adult as it is fiddly and the bottle can be sharp once cut.
  3. Fill the bottle with alternating layers of sand, soil, sand, soil – around a couple of inches deep for each layer. Spray each layer with a small amount of water as you fill so it is damp before adding the next layer.
  4. Add a few worms to the top of the bottle and watch how quickly they dig and burrow down into the layers.
  5. Now, add the worm food to the top. You don’t need to push it into the soil; the worms will come and get it.
  6. Wrap the bottle with the dark coloured plastic bag (worms like it dark, as it would be if it were underground).
  7. Pop the Wormery in a warm place.
  8. Remove the bag to make observations of the Wormery and note the changes over time.

The worm’s job is to increase the amount of air and water that gets into the soil. They also break down organic matter, like leaves and grass into things that plants can use (nitrates). When they eat, they leave behind “castings” that are a very valuable type of fertiliser. Worms are vital to healthy soil and are the superheroes of our gardens!

Top Tips for a Successful Wormery Experiment:

  • You can use the end of the bottle you’ve cut off as a funnel, although we’d still recommend filling your bottle in the garden where possible as you can’t avoid making a bit of a mess.
  • Don’t give the worms citrus fruits or onion, they don’t like the PH.
  • Put some tape over the cut edges of the bottle if they are sharp.
  • Cut a small slit in the top end of the bottle so you can use it as a lid to help keep the Wormery damp.
  • Make sure there is always food available for the worms and the contents are always damp to touch.
  • Watch out for the layers disappearing as the sand and soil mix together and channels appear where the worms burrow.
  • Build note taking and even drawing pictures of the Wormery into your daily routine; the kids will be amazed how quickly the worms get to work.
  • If you don’t have any sand (we used some from the sand pit), you can use different mediums to create your layers, such as shop bought compost, garden soil, dried leaves (crumbled up) or grass clippings.
  • After a week, release your worms back into the garden.
  • You can reuse your Wormery and experiment with different layers.

Remember to tweet us pictures of your wonderful underground worlds @SMMTIF using #IFWORMERY

Authored by: Beth Osborne MCIM CMktr, SMMT Industry Forum’s Head of Marketing

Beth has held a number of senior strategic roles within a variety of technical industries and sectors. Beth is both a Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Digital Marketing Institute graduate, holding two professional diplomas in marketing as well as maintaining the highly revered chartered marketer status since 2014. At Industry Forum, Beth heads up the external communications function, overseeing the effective planning and implementation of all marketing communications, as well as holding overall accountability for the Sales and Marketing Intelligence and reporting function. 

Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) is a strategy for reducing lead-times across all functions of an organisation. The resulting improvements in speed and responsiveness increase the organisation’s agility and responsiveness, resulting in competitive advantage.
Many well-known Lean Manufacturing tools have been developed for high volume/low variety, or ‘mass production’ environments. Think of techniques such a Pull Systems, Kanban, Line Balancing and Heijunka for instance, often applied to fast moving production lines. However, these tools often do not translate well to low volume/high variety environments, which require short batch runs, higher levels of customisation and fast response to changes in customer demand.
For businesses facing the challenge of meeting increased customisation and speed, QRM is a strategy which relentlessly focuses on reducing lead-time both on the shop floor and in the office operations. QRM strategy comprises of 4 core concepts; The power of time, Organisation structure, System dynamics, Enterprise wide application.
Quick Response Manufacturing applies to every aspect of an organisation, is singular in its focus and simple to understand – generating competitive advantage through relentless reduction of lead-time.
Industry Forum has now partnered with The QRM Institute, which provides four levels of training and certification in QRM to offer the only QRM Silver Course® in the UK. The QRM Institute Silver ® Course combines theoretical knowledge of QRM principles, with practical applications through exercises and simulations. It illustrates the transformation of a cost-centric traditional organization (shop floor or support services) into an agile QRM-cell organization, focused on the reduction of the lead time.
The QRM approach is not about working faster, but about working better together. In order to simplify operations and streamline the company’s processes – both internally and externally (suppliers and customers) – by creating a motivating and sustainable collaborative dynamic. 
The course, which is suitable for a great number of roles within the manufacturing environment, enables attendees to respond better to the challenges and demands of customers who are moving towards high mix / low volume environments.

During my career, I have had the privilege to work for a major proactive OEM that has been a significant driving factor in the advancement and development of aerospace quality standards, one of which is AS9145 – Aerospace Series – Requirements for Advanced Product Quality Planning and Production Part Approval Process.

There have been a number of repeat and common issues that I have seen regarding the APQP/PPAP process, of which were neither commodity or sector dependent. I am highlighting these issues to help suppliers avoid falling into these common traps.

1. Plan

I will start with a quote from Benjamin Franklin:

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail’.

This is very true when it comes to APQP and PPAP. During reviews of PPAP, it soon becomes apparent that the creation of the PPAP document was an afterthought. The philosophy of APQP and PPAP is that the PPAP documents are created during the APQP process and not a case of “let’s create all these documents today so we can submit to the customer”.

If APQP is done correctly, then you have created a plan by using the knowledge of a cross-functional team. This plan will allow you to deliver all the required deliverables.  APQP ensures that you are doing the right things (DFMEA, PFMEA, MSA etc.) at the right time within the process, with the right people for the right reasons.

If APQP has not been planned appropriately then tell-tale signs start to appear within the PPAP submission. It is important to understand the timeline behind the documents created.

For example, if a drawing was released as a finished drawing in January 2019 and updated due to a modification in February 2019, we would need to review the dates of the documents within the submission. If the DFMEA was created in March 2019, then it was created too late to achieve its true purpose and the supplier has missed a golden opportunity to improve the design of the product prior to design release. DFMEA considerations would not have been available for the original drawing release or its first update

Also, another example is when the Control Plan is created prior to the PFMEA.  When I see these types of issues, it leads me to ask the supplier lots of questions to identify if they have undertaken an effective APQP program or just created a PPAP as a ‘tick box exercise’.

2. ‘All the chapters in the story must be from the same book’. Let me explain…

The PPAP submission is like a story; in essence, you are telling the story of the creation of this part and the process that makes it. All the bits of information need to tie up. For example, if a drawing has a dimension that is measured with a height gauge. When I review element 6 within the PPAP file – Measurement System Analysis, I would expect to see a MSA study for the height gauge measurement system. In reality, what I have seen on a number of occasions is suppliers providing a data dump of all the MSAs they have undertaken. Then as a reviewer, I need to work out which are valid and which are not.

In one example, a height gauge was used but a MSA study was provided for a shadowgraph. On closer examination of the PPAP documents, it was determined that a shadowgraph was not listed anywhere within the Control Plan.

3. If you have a problem, know what you are doing to fix it.

If the PPAP file is not complete or contains discrepancies when making the PPAP submission, an action plan detailing how the submission will be completed/corrected should be included.

The submission warrant in AS9145, also called the Production Part Approval Process Approval Form contains the following statement:

‘I, the supplier, submit this PPAP Approval form as declaration of having met all applicable requirements of the 9145 standard, except as noted…’

What this means is that as a supplier, you are aware of issues or non-compliance with the standard and have a closing action plan which is resourced with completion dates. The approach I have seen too often is that the supplier submits their PPAP pack and waits for the review/approval authority to list and report the issues found.

Often, the supplier only acts on the issues highlighted by the review/approval authority, which is clear evidence that the supplier is not accepting responsibility for the parts they have designed (if design responsible), and the associated manufacturing process they have developed. The supplier is best placed to know what issues and risks they carry, and as such, what they are going to do to resolve them. The onus is on the supplier to identify all issues and to create an appropriate closing action plan.

Just a thought; if the review/approval authority signs off the PPAP file with discrepancies within it, that on its own does not resolve the discrepancies in the file. The customer’s signature on the approval form does not make the file contents right; the corrective action plan does!

4. Not submitting on time is not an option

Consider the following:

A submission date has been given to the supplier by the customer’s project management team at the start of the programme of work, and this date has been agreed by all the parties involved in the project (customer and supplier side). The agreed date is fast approaching but the supplier knows that they will not have everything done on time. So the supplier decides not to submit on the agreed date but carries on undertaking all the required actions to submit a fully complete and acceptable submission. Meanwhile, the customer is expecting the submission on a certain date.

Imagine you are the project team manager responsible for a completely new engine; think of all the thousands of parts that require PPAP. The part in question is just one of many thousands and as such you, the project manager have a real need to understand the status of each of the parts. If the supplier does not submit on time, you do not know whether or not the supplier has a serious problem.

The expectation is that the supplier submits on time so that there is a stake in the ground and everyone (your company and your customer) knows how the project is progressing.

If you take on board the pointers above then it will help you to deliver a successful APQP programme and PPAP submission.

– February 2020 authored by Andrea Goddard

A Bit More About Andrea

For the past two years, Andrea has been working as a Senior Consultant for Industry Forum specialising in the aerospace sector and associated industry standards. Prior to Industry Forum, Andrea worked for Rolls-Royce Ltd in various manufacturing engineering positions.  Andrea was the European PPAP Champion and part of the team that implemented the Rolls-Royce version of APQP & PPAP (a forerunner to AS9145).


Line balancing as a technique is most usually applied to assembly lines, where products can move easily from work station to work station in sequence, often one piece at a time. The principle of line balancing is very simple; ensure that you have allocated and arranged sufficient production resources (machines, manpower, time) for each process step to produce the required customer demand, within the time available to meet that demand.

A common way of calculating the required rate of production to meet the Customer demand is known as Takt Time. This is the production rate (or ‘drum beat’) that a production line needs to achieve, within the available production time, to meet customer demand and NOT overproduce. In simple terms, balancing capacity with demand – but doing so for each process step to allow the product to flow.

The following is an example of a Takt Time calculation;

A Customer orders 3,000 widgets per week from a Supplier. The Supplier dedicates a production line working a single 40 hour/5 day per week shift pattern to make these products. Subtracting any planned downtime such as lunch and other rest breaks, planned maintenance, team briefs etc. that are expected to happen over this working week pattern, we are left with the available production time. Let’s say that the planned downtime amounts to 50 minutes per day. So the available production time per week would be (40hrs x 60mins) – (50mins/day x 5 days) = 2,150 mins/week.

Therefore Takt Time would be (2,150 mins/week) / (3,000 widgets per week) = 0.717 mins/widget, or more simply; 43 seconds.

So, if a good quality widget comes off the end of the production line every 43 seconds, then over the working week, Customer demand will be met exactly, and there will be no over production.

Of course, in real life there will be some hiccups – so it is common practice to balance the production line so it cycles slightly faster than Takt (90–95% is common). This allows the line to accommodate small stoppages and still meet customer demand within the available production time.

A critical piece of information to allow companies to efficiently balance their production lines is to properly understand the cycle time for each process within the line. This is where standard work really supports Line Balancing. It is essential that processes are standardised and performed consistently. This involves identifying and standardising the ‘Best Known Way’ to perform each task, and ensuring operators are trained and competent to follow this standard. Once this is achieved, the process can be recorded (video footage is often the easiest way to do this), and the process broken down into individual steps, or ‘elements’, for which individual times can be recorded. These times should be consistent – too much variation would suggest the process has not yet been sufficiently standardised. These element times then become the building blocks that can be used for the Line Balancing activity. Once you have understood the manual work content of the product you are making, and have correctly calculated Takt Time, it is easy to work out what the ‘ideal’ or minimum manning level for the production line is. Distributing the work element times evenly across the number of workers will balance the line, and support the smooth flow of products through the production line.

There are many benefits to this approach – minimising work in progress, reducing production lead time and improving quality to name but a few. A more in depth explanation of the approach can be found in the publication, ‘Implementing Standardised Work – A Guide’  – published by SMMT, and referred to as a Best Practice within Annex B. of the Automotive Quality Standard IATF 16949:2016.

– February 2020 authored by Mike Scull

A Bit More About Mike
Mike Scull has over 30 years of manufacturing experience within the automotive, aerospace, electronics, off highway, white goods and apparel sectors. Joining Industry Forum in January 1998, Mike underwent training and mentoring in the implementation of Lean Manufacturing with Japanese Master Engineers from Toyota, Nissan and Honda. Mike’s current role at Industry Forum is Principal Consultant – Lean Manufacturing.

Mike is a Chartered Engineer (CEng MIMechE), and has a BSc (Hons) in Civil Engineering. He has professional qualifications including APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) and Certified Production and Inventory Management (CPIM), Certified Demand Driven Planner, PRINCE2 Practitioner and is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt. He is also an Assessor for the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels (NMCL) programme.

Click here to contact Mike or give us a call on +44 (0)121 717 6600.

The Changing New Product Introduction (NPI) Environment

The environment in which new products are introduced today is constantly changing. Factors contributing to this change in NPI operating environments are:

  • Ever-increasing product complexity
  • Demanding regulatory bodies
  • Shifting workforce needs
  • Complex value chain
  • Shrinking product release cycles

On the other hand, initiatives to drive a quality culture change in organisations are common across the industrial and manufacturing sectors. Most of these initiatives focus on the message that organisations must evolve to a more proactive quality culture. One critical element to drive a proactive quality culture is early and effective management of NPI. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing sector still struggle to pinpoint best practices that have a beneficial impact on NPI. In other organisations, best practices may be identified but it still remains an uphill struggle to implement and sustain these best practices to deliver effective results in the area of NPI.

What Can You Do as a Manufacturer?

1. Conduct NPI Gap Assessment: The pressure is on and growing for manufacturers. The only way to remain competitive is a continuous review and adaptation of existing processes, practices and skills to deliver effective results in NPI. It is no secret that organisations that benchmark actual performance against best practices in NPI are able to drive and sustain higher performance levels.

2. Review Essentials for NPI: In many ways, you can compare NPI to rocket science; coordination of activities that need to happen at predefined moments and to a certain standard is not an easy task. To get the fundamentals right, companies need to work on a standard approach and review current processes and practices across the six process pillars for NPI.


The NPI Process pillar defines a structure and route map with cross functional roles and responsibilities to successfully complete a product introduction.
The Project Management pillar helps the governance of each individual product introduction going through an organisation.
The Design Excellence pillar helps in managing product risks and driving value throughout the product design and development process.
The Manufacturing Process Design pillar helps to pick the right and most efficient manufacturing solution, driving right first time approach.
The Product and Process Validation pillar helps to validate customer requirements related to product and internal organisation requirements of a repeatable manufacturing process.
The Supply Chain Readiness pillar helps to support the supply chain during NPI and ensure its readiness to launch products right first time and On Time In Full to organisations.

3. Management Support for NPI: The management team must advocate and nurture a collaborative NPI process and ensure NPI stakeholders are working together to achieve common goals. This forms the backbone to align teams, processes and data, and to remove obstacles that prevent collaboration and promote destructive internal competition. While product development is responsible for many tasks in NPI, an effective NPI process should include multiple roles, and integrate voices and processes from commercial, supply chain, manufacturing, quality and others.

We Are Here to Help
This year, Industry Forum has launched a new course to cover Essentials for New Product Introduction. To find out more about this course and to download your copy of our NPI training brochure, please click here.

We can help you with NPI gap assessment. If you would like to know more, please send us an email or give us a call on +44 (0)121 717 6600.

Industry Forum has also launched a series of NPI breakfast briefings. These are free events and the next NPI breakfast briefing is planned for 23rd April. To book your free space, please click here.

– February 2020 authored by Robin Talwar

A Bit More About Robin

Robin Talwar has over 20 years of international experience within the manufacturing sector, working with leading OEMs and cross-sector tier 1 suppliers. He began his career as a Quality Engineer for Honda Car Manufacturing, developing skills in Problem Solving, Kaizen and Quality Circles. Moving in to the role of Supplier Development Engineer at BMW Germany, Robin was involved in NPI activities and application of Core Tools with suppliers. Joining the Greenfield Project Team with Daimler Trucks, Robin led the Supplier Selection and Development activities to achieve a challenging 85% localisation target. Before joining Industry Forum in May 2015 as Principal Consultant in NPI and Lifecycle Management, Robin was Head of Logistics Operations for a brand new car manufacturing plant of Honda Cars in India, where he successfully developed a Japanese 3PL for inbound logistics and milk run operations.

Click here to contact Robin.

2020 is now well and truly upon us, and many Learning and Development (L&D) functions are putting together their plans for the year ahead. We all know the benefits of training for both the employer and organisation. For most, these are a given and few would deny the generic benefits, which include:
• Improved employee motivation and well-being
• Reduced employee turnover
• Improved organisational efficiencies
• Reduced organisational risk
• Increased capacity to adopt new technologies
Historically, L&D teams could often justify their L&D spend on the benefits above without too much question. However, today this is not enough. Although most business leaders would accept these generic benefits, in tough economic times, this can sometimes not be a strong enough business case to justify the investment required – particularly when there are often countless competing priorities. 
So, what is the answer for L&D teams? How do you create your plans and strategies that can demonstrate real business value over and above what is often thought to be the ‘softer benefits’ (even though all of the generic reasons would have financial impacts)?
The key is to link your L&D plans to the organisational strategy and demonstrate how L&D can truly support the organisation to succeed. This is a bold statement, but is one that I truly believe. L&D is a key enabler to organisational success and can add real, tangible, business value if done right. But remember, if you make this claim then you will need to be able to back this up later on in terms of ROI metrics.
So now is the time to make sure that your L&D plans are aligned to your business strategy and my ‘top tips’ for this are as follows:
1. Engage with your Senior Leadership teams to understand the organisational goals and challenges – make sure you really understand these and question the links to skills in each case.
2. Don’t just focus on the tactical priorities – build a 3-5 year plan that articulates how L&D can support the business strategy over the long-term.
3. Agree the business KPIs for the training upfront – what measurable things do you want people to be doing as a result of the training? If you can agree these and build them into the training programme, you will be able to measure ROI. “For an investment of £X, we got an improvement in Y-metric”.
4. Acknowledge where you don’t have the internal expertise or resource to deliver the solutions. Your role as an L&D team is about facilitating the intervention – if you have the right partners, you can often deliver more in a shorter time period.
5. If you are using a supplier, then partner with one which has an in-depth understanding of your business and sector, as well as the L&D expertise – having this will enable them to really partner with you to align development solutions to business goals. They can even support you to articulate the links and benefits to your business leaders.
Would you like to discuss your training plans for 2020?
Industry Forum has a depth and breadth of experience in helping manufacturers understand, optimise and improve both manufacturing capability and business performance.
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A Bit More About Andy: 
Andy Kennard has a BA (Hons) in Business Information Systems and a Post Graduate Certificate in the Psychology of Organisational Development and Change as well as over 10 years’ experience leading Learning and Development programmes from both in-company positions and as a training content provider. Andy’s in-depth expertise of all aspects of the people agenda including Learning and Development, Performance Management, Change, Talent, and Employee Engagement. At Industry Forum Andy heads up the Learning Centre and is responsible for the learning and development aspect of the organisation. 
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The year 2020 is going to prove to be a very interesting year regarding Quality Management Systems and supporting standards within the Aerospace sector.

These are my predictions for the year to come.

Many organisations within the Aerospace sector, including OEMs and key Tier 1 suppliers are now upskilling their own internal teams with respect to the AS9145 APQP/PPAP standard.


  • Expect to see in 2020 a growing emphasis by the OEMs and Tier 1s within the aerospace sector supply chain, to implement the requirements of AS9145 and hence provide benefits to themselves and their customers.


Without doubt, this will over time roll out across multiple tiers of the supply chain. Compliance to AS9145 may not currently be mandated to you but you can expect that it will be over the next few years. Why wait until you are told to do it by your customer? Start implementation now and get the full benefits sooner.

To be successful in the effective implementation of AS9145, a deeper understanding of the principles of APQP is required, along with the supporting APQP activities. The OEMs and Tier 1s are also growing their understanding of the supporting tools and techniques and will be looking to the supply chain to also strengthen understanding and implementation.

  •  Expect to see the following under greater scrutiny in 2020:
    – Problem solving to AS13000
    – Alternative Inspection Frequency Plans to AS13002
    – Measurement System Analysis to AS13003
    – Process FMEA and Control Plan to AS13004
    – Process Control Methods to AS13006
  • Also expect greater emphasis during 2020 for Design Risk Analysis, typically with the customer’s expectation of DFMEA or FMECA being conducted.

A number of significant Aerospace sector engine suppliers have grouped together to form the AESQ Strategy Group. This group has worked together to agree a number of industry standards, some of which are listed above. The AESQ sponsors a bi-annual conference for interested parties within the Aerospace supply chain, with the most recent being held in Toulouse during October 2019. The message was very clear; the standards are written – it’s time to implement them.

  • Expect to see the attendance at the AESQ conference grow in 2020. The next AESQ conference will be held at the Shanghai Crowne Plaza, Shanghai on the 22nd April 2020 from 08.30 to 17.30 – I hope to see you there.
  •  Expect zero defects to be a growing theme for 2020.

It was part of the key messaging from last year’s AESQ conference; adopting a zero defects culture is becoming a key survival mantra for the industry. If the OEMs and supply chain do not get on board with a zero defects approach, there will not be a commercial aircraft sector in the future. From accepted Aerospace sector sources, the number of aircraft in the air doubles every 15 years. It is predicted that if the level of product reliability/quality stays at its current levels, by 2036 there will be 2 serious incidents a week, with many of them resulting in plane crashes. I cannot see any government allowing airlines to consider that as being acceptable.

  •  Expect to see the success of the Industry Forum AQMS event grow during 2020.

The team at Industry Forum collects key players from the Automotive Sector and brings them together for an annual conference. This event is billed as the AQMS and will be held on the 20th and 21st of October 2020. Although primarily aimed at the Automotive sector, much of the subject content and discussions could equally be applied to the Aerospace sector. It provides a good opportunity to meet other Quality industry professionals and make networking contacts. More details of this event will be published soon.

A Bit More About Richard

Richard Hammond has over 30 years of auditing and consulting experience within automotive and aerospace sectors. He began his career at Rolls Royce Motors Plc, where he graduated to the role of Maintenance and Installation Engineer, before progressing to his current position as Principal Consultant at Industry Forum via Industrial Robotics and Certification Body Auditing. As a qualified SMMT trainer, Richard delivers the recognised International Automotive Task Force (IATF) ISO/TS16949 Certification Body Auditor training and evaluation. Richard is an approved IATF Witness Auditor and delivers Core Tools training (APQP, PPAP, SPC, MSA, FMEA and Control Plan) into major aerospace and automotive OEMs and tier 1 suppliers.

Click here to contact Richard.


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