Industry Forum

Why is NPI Important?

Aspirational growth targets are fundamental to future business strategy and a large part of achieving this growth will involve the introduction of new opportunities and new products into the business. Developing profitable, timely, high-quality products is more important today than ever before.

Visibility to product performance has never been higher, while competitive pressures continue to squeeze margins and time to market. To compete, manufacturers must deliver better, faster and cheaper. Suppliers today are mon­itored by automated supplier management sys­tems – these systems categorise suppliers based on risk formulas, which include factors like quality and on time delivery. Preferred suppliers are more likely to be awarded new contracts, while higher risk suppliers require more oversight and therefore receive fewer competitive contracts. This level of scrutiny and instantaneous global visibility means that manufacturers can no longer afford to launch products and improve them post release; product performance and quality must be excel­lent at initial release.

What is Successful NPI?

The four top criteria required for successful NPI are product quality, product performance, cost/margin, and time to market. It is also well known that these criteria tend to conflict with each other and often, organisations are required to decide whether to increase cost, delay release, or launch with known quality defects. It is “easy” to achieve one of these criteria, hard to accomplish two, and a strategic and collaborative effort is required to achieve all NPI success criteria consistently.

Common Reasons for NPI Failures

NPI areas that require handoffs among multiple stakeholders are requirements management, risk, product verification and validation, suppliers, and production planning. Challenges vary by discipline, but three issues are common areas of concern: lack of consistent or formal processes, disparate systems and data sources, and late engagement in NPI. These challenges have a negative impact on key NPI success criteria – time to market, costs, performance, and quality. Weak cross-functional collaboration is a crippling obstacle to NPI success.

While there are plenty of reasons why targets set for a NPI launch are not achieved, below is a list of 5 of the most common reasons. NPI failures can include any combination of the following:

  • Lack of formal launch processes
  • Lack of project management approach and resource commitment
  • Design and development issues and delayed design freeze
  • The manufacturing process design is not able to achieve desired ramp up volumes
  • Product quality or supply problems

What Can You Do as a Manufacturer Now?

Whether it’s a start up or an experienced NPI team, EVERY launch is different and must be addressed as such. A few steps that may help to drive successful product launches are:

  • Identify a “NPI lead” and cross-functional team, mapping out requirements from each participant in a product launch schedule.
  • Determine time and scale of NPI by creating a “baseline” readiness report.
  • Create a NPI plan with definitive and measurable goals.
  • Build sales and operational readiness by ensuring sales and operational teams are trained in new product launch excellence and have sign off on product launch date.
  • Conduct a post product launch evaluation to learn lessons for the future by performing a thorough assessment and debrief of actions.

 

To start your NPI improvement journey, complete your free NPI self-assessment and one of our experts will provide you with feedback.

For more information, visit our website, email us or phone +44 121 717 6600 to talk to our expert practitioners.

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.

The supply chain is constantly changing for all industries. With the introduction of new technologies, innovative systems and the ever-changing demand of products, companies have been forced to change how they manage their operations and logistics to suit. These have all collectively contributed to the increased importance of having a smooth flow of management to ensure that the supply chain is working effectively.

Your supply chain can be one of your best strategic resources and, if utilised properly, it can help you to grow quickly and efficiently. However, often we see areas in companies where it can be optimised even further to help take the business to the next level.

Here are some of our best practices for making your supply chain management the best it can be. By optimising your flow with some of the below recommendations, you could grow your business in more ways than revenue.

 

Healthy Supplier Relationships

Communication is the key to everything in business and it should be at the forefront of any strong supply chain management system. Having good, healthy relationships with your suppliers is an important indicator that you are aiming to get the best out of your chain. Communication should occur regularly and should aim to be two-way so that both partners feel they are receiving a benefit. Having strong communication and relationship dictates value in each other, allows you to measure performance better and gives you a better opportunity to resolve any conflict that may arise.

 

Optimise Your Inventory

In business, reducing costs can sometimes be both necessary and difficult, but it doesn’t have to be the latter. Utilise your supply chain by consistently looking into your inventory quantities and where you can optimise them to save costs. When it comes to storing hold stock, it can become costly quickly as they sit in the warehouse with nowhere to go at that present time. By working on your ability to forecast and plan demand where possible, or even use a JIT (Just-In-Time) system, you can streamline this process and reduce costs dramatically.

 

Utilise Technology

As we’ve discussed previously, technological advancements give us the opportunity to better our business, whether it’s quickening processes or bringing certain elements in-house rather than outsourcing. By reviewing the technology, software and programmes that are used in your business on the regular, you could potentially save hours of work and therefore money. However, it’s important that you don’t rely on these technologies alone. Only review processes that are lacking and then see if there are any software solutions to suit.

 

Establish Green Initiatives

The world that we live in is being forced to become more socially responsible by introducing friendlier procedures to counteract the damaging effects industry have had on the planet. If a company is wanting to survive in the long term, it’s important that they begin to plan and implement sustainable and ‘green’ procedures for their business. Buyers are becoming a lot more environmentally aware when it comes to their purchasing decisions and may often purchase when hearing something positive in regards to the environment and the social responsibility of a company. By creating greener processes alongside a desired and positive workplace, you are on the right path to success.

 

These are only a small selection of tools that can help you optimise your supply chain management but this is only the beginning. You can discover more ways to optimise your processes via our collection of AIAG Books, Publications and Standards. The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) are a group of professionals within the industry who aim to help with the streamlining of various industry processes, such as your supply chain management.

Companies within the Aerospace industry have long since recognised that although they compete to gain market share, they also share common challenges. In the past, they have created differing techniques and methods to try and achieve the same results. To address this, the aviation, space, and defence industry established the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) for the purpose of achieving significant improvements in quality, delivery, safety, and reductions in cost, throughout the value stream. This organisation includes representation from companies in the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe. One of the more tangible results of the group’s activities is the release of a number of industry recognised standards.

 

The initial Aerospace approach to problem solving was released in May 2014. This standard was designated AS13000 Problem Solving Requirements for Suppliers and

was based on the Automotive industry 8 discipline approach, more commonly known as “8D”. The standard was released in an attempt to create a common approach for problem solving.

With the drive towards zero defects and continuous improvement becoming an Aerospace industry wide focus, the subject of problem solving was revisited in November 2016. This resulted in the IAQG releasing ARP9136, which is a recommended practice document, again, in support of problem solving. This guidance follows what is now known within the Aerospace sector as the 9 Step or “9S” approach.

To summarise, ARP9136 is an Aerospace recommended practice and AS13000 is an Aerospace standard, both of which are used in aviation, space and defence industries. They both detail the same practices and methodologies to perform root cause analysis, with the only minor difference that ARP9136 describes a 9S approach, and AS13000 describes an 8D methodology. The intent and outcomes of both of these methodologies are exactly the same.

Problem solving is seen as a key element of the goal of zero defects, as can be seen in the diagram. It moves organisations from fire fighting to effective root cause analysis, and the application of systematic corrective action.

Our AS13000 8D Problem Solving Course has been updated to include alignment with ARP9136 Root Cause and Problem Solving (9S Methodology).

 

To find out more about AS13000 and ARP9136 and how Industry Forum can support your journey of improvement and achieving zero defects, visit our website, email us or phone +44 121 717 6600 to talk to our expert practitioners.

– August 2019 authored by Richard Hammond

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.

Deming was champion of using data and measurement to properly understand and quantify current performance against standard. Understanding a problem through robust data collection and analysis provides a solid foundation to begin problem solving. It’s conventional wisdom, and has been around for a long time – all the more surprising then that the second biggest Major Non Conformance criteria in IATF 16949 for 2019 year to date is Clause 10.2.3 – Problem Solving!

Problems, or abnormal occurrences, may be picked up in a number of different ways:

  • Measuring actual performance against target as in Figure 1 e.g. short interval monitoring, SPC charts, performance measures on a Visual Management Board.

Figure 1: The gap between actual and target performance.

Typical performance measures include delivery, cost, lead time, safety and quality.

It is important to remember that Problem Solving is not just used to react to a customer quality complaint.

  • Trend or data trail analysis as part of an improvement programme.
  • Customer complaints.
  • Accident log book.
  • Observing for yourself at the place of work and by talking to those carrying out the process.

The last point here reminds us of the importance of ”going to Gemba”. Data and information are important to help direct you to the point of cause – but then you have to go and look for yourself, if you really want to understand the mechanism by which a failure might occur.

“Data is of course important in manufacturing, but I place the greatest emphasis on facts.” – Taiichi Ohno

Not all problems need to be resolved using the structured Problem Solving tool. Before embarking on a structured Problem Solving activity, it is important to understand if the inputs to the process (man, material, machine and method) are in line with the required standard, and if the cause of the problem or the countermeasure to the problem is known.

The first question to ask is “Is the “problem” a result of the deterioration of standard working conditions and practices (basic conditions), which would affect the inputs to the process (man, material, machine, method)?” Frequently, “problems” detected as a gap between actual and target performance, during the course of normal working can be rectified by restoring the process back to the required basic conditions (5C standard – also known as 5S, working to Standard Operations, equipment maintained at correct standard). This is illustrated in Figure 2.

Figure 2: The Infinity Loop.

In normal working situations, we are in the sustain cycle, the first step of which is to measure the current situation. The second step is to keep to standard and if required, restore basic conditions of the equipment. Basic conditions refer to the good 5S/5C condition, working to Standard Operations and equipment maintained at the correct level.

We then ask “Has the problem identified in step 1 been resolved?” Typically, 8/10 problems are resolved by restoring basic conditions. In these cases, step 3 is to do what is required to maintain the basic conditions in order to sustain normal working conditions. In these instances, we do not need to deploy a structured problem solving technique.

What happens if the problem isn’t resolved by restoring basic conditions? We now have a second route to take; the Improvement Cycle. This could be a Focussed Improvement activity using the tools of Problem Solving. In the improve cycle, step 3 becomes carry out a “root cause analysis”. Step 4 is “root cause countermeasure” and step 5 is “define standards”.

We then ask the question, “Has this solved the problem?” If the answer is no, go round the improvement cycle again. If the answer is yes, then we return to the sustain cycle, and the old step 3 has become step 6. The final step is 7, improve the basic conditions in line with the countermeasure. Normal working is made up of a combination of these two cycles – called the infinity loop. The infinity loop has strong links with Total Productive Maintenance, especially the point of establishing and maintaining basic conditions.

The second question asked when deciding if structured problem solving needs to be used is, “Is the cause and/or countermeasure to the problem known?”

The table below demonstrates the different approaches to be taken, depending upon your knowledge of cause and countermeasure:

Figure 3: Cause/Countermeasure Matrix

The matrix illustrates the different approaches that can be taken to solving a Problem, dependent upon your understanding of it. The cause may be known or not known, and similarly, the countermeasure may be known or not known. This leads to 4 different scenarios:

  • Type 1 where cause and countermeasure are both known. Existing knowledge can be applied to the solution of the problem and a simple process followed.
  • Type 2 where cause is known and countermeasure is not known. This is where technology tends to get applied to resolve issues and process specialists are required.
  • Type 3 where cause is not known and countermeasure is known. Beware that countermeasures, at this point, could be applied to symptoms of problems if that problem has not been fully understood – this is fire-fighting.
  • Type 4 where neither cause nor countermeasure is known. This is the area where the structured approach is most useful. The root cause can be most effectively identified through a rigorous iterative process utilising all the information relevant to the problem.

The application of a structured Problem Solving approach can be usefully deployed if:

  • All the process inputs are being deployed as required (man, material, machine and method) i.e. basic conditions are being met.
  • The cause for falling short of target is unknown.
  • The countermeasure is unknown.

Structured Problem Solving can also be used to improve performance, rather than just react to a problem that is happening. In both instances, typical performance measures that can benefit from the application of the Problem Solving tool include delivery, cost, lead time, safety and quality.

Conversely, failure to resolve problems will affect:

  • Customer satisfaction – customer expects certain quality, price and delivery targets to be met and failure to meet these will reduce satisfaction, especially if the reason given for failure is repetitive.
  • Competitiveness – poor QCD results affect the ability to compete with other suppliers and the achievement of globally competitive costs. Ultimately, this affects profitability.
  • Reputation – a dissatisfied customer will be unlikely to repeat their business with you, and will likely spread the word to other people.
  • Employee effectiveness.

Effective problem solving using a structured method:

  • Prevents reoccurrence of problems (i.e. fire-fighting).
  • In turn, this improves performance measures and customer satisfaction.
  • Provides a structured methodology for improvement of products/processes by highlighting potential risks on similar processes.
  • Reduces costs associated with the problem.

However, effective problem solving is not easy as the true root cause of a problem can be elusive to find. Perhaps that’s why there are so many Major Non-Conformances across IATF 16949 audits this year.

To find out more about how Industry Forum can support your journey of improvement, visit our website, email us or phone +44 121 717 6600 to talk to our expert practitioners.

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.

Earlier this year, Industry Forum launched a free NPI self-assessment tool to help organisations start their NPI improvement journey. Since its launch, we have received responses from cross-sector manufacturing organisations (i.e. automotive, aerospace and diverse). Respondents to the self-assessment have come from across most functions in organisations, including project management, quality, design engineering, manufacturing engineering, supply chain, senior management and manufacturing. Feedback provided by our experienced team at Industry Forum on each individual NPI self-assessment has been well received and we are confident that this process has been of great value to organisations truly looking to improve their NPI capabilities.

In this article, we will share some of the results across the self-assessments completed and talk about common weak areas identified for improvement. Before we start analysing results, here is your chance to complete the free NPI self-assessment, if you have not already done so.

Take our free NPI self-assessment

 

Fig. 1: Summary of NPI Self-Assessment Responses

Fig. 2: Industry Forum NPI Model for Launch Excellence

The NPI Process pillar remains, by far, the biggest area of concern highlighted in NPI self-assessment responses completed to date. 63% of responses (see Fig. 1) within this pillar are an area of concern for respondents. It is also one of the key process pillars in the Industry Forum NPI Model for Launch Excellence (see Fig. 2).

A successful NPI process needs to be aligned to business needs and agreed with all stakeholders. Lack of stakeholder commitment is often seen either due to a cumbersome NPI process or one that is not rigorous enough to produce the desired NPI results. This is also an area where best practices start becoming a best fit to organisations. It all comes down to having a right sized NPI process that meets the business needs. So, how do we get to this right sized NPI process?

The right sized NPI process should:

  1. Be adaptable to both simple and complex situations.
  2. Have a clear definition and buy-in from a cross-functional team on expected activities, deliverables and decisions for NPI.
  3. Have buy-in from a cross-functional team on standard work output for each activity within the NPI process.
  4. Have measures for process adherence and NPI outputs agreed and implemented in teams.

Project Management is the next biggest area of concern highlighted in NPI self-assessment responses completed to date. 39% of responses (see Fig. 1) within this pillar are an area of concern for respondents. When we think about some of the reasons for NPI project failures, the usual suspects come to mind:

  • Failure to set and manage expectations:
    • Lack of communication at any level.
    • Inefficient documentation and tracking of progress.
    • Competing priorities.
    • Disregard of project warning signs / risks.
  • Poor planning and/or inadequate structure of process.
  • Poor project leadership or implementation – inadequately trained project managers or project teams.
  • Inaccurate cost estimates.

The good news is that while every project is unique, there are a number of core Project Management principles which underpin success.

What Are the Next Steps?

The big question for many organisations starting on their NPI improvement journey is what they should do first. A good starting point is to do some internal analysis to identify strengths and weaknesses. This approach will not only be more cost effective but will also highlight where to concentrate first level efforts for improvement. To facilitate this internal analysis, a self-assessment tool can provide people the opportunity to take a step back, reflect and make decisions on where improvements are required.  Only after this exercise has been completed can a logical decision be made on next steps to advance the capabilities and close existing gaps.

Below are some simple questions to ask within your teams to define your improvement areas relating to project management:

  1. Do we all have a common understanding and awareness of project management principles?
  2. Do we have a project management approach established with a structured project planning process?
  3. Do we have effective communication in project teams from start to end of projects? Consider planning, assigning, monitoring, controlling and close out of projects.
  4. Do we effectively manage project risk and changes in the team?
  5. Do we continuously improve our project management methodologies with a lessons learned feedback loop?

Industry Forum can help with a 4 day NPI process workshop, as a closed course at your site. This workshop includes reviewing the existing NPI process, defining a suitable future state with cross-functional teams and defining measures for sustained implementation of the new NPI process. We also have a 3 day Project Management Practitioner for Product Launch Excellence course that can be delivered at your site. For more information, visit our website, email us or phone +44 121 717 6600 to talk to our expert practitioners.

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.

Once again, Industry Forum will be supporting Advanced Engineering, the UK’s largest annual exhibition and conference for advanced manufacturers and supply chain professionals, with the provision of speakers for the open forum sessions and offering free consultancy review sessions to those attending the show. The Advanced Engineering show is held at the NEC, Birmingham on 30th – 31st October and is free to attend – register your place in advance here.

Industry Forum’s General Manager for Aerospace, Andy Spence will be giving a presentation on National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels at this year’s Advanced Engineering Open Forum. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has recently announced that they will be providing £26 million of funding to drive the competitiveness improvement of automotive and aerospace supply chain organisations, led by the respective trade associations, SMMT and ADS. This presentation will explain how the approach can develop a programme tailored to meet your needs, supported by a financial business case.

In addition, General Manager for Diverse, Simon Carr will be presenting on “Competitive Advantage Through Total Productive Maintenance Techniques” and Principal Consultant, Robin Talwar will be discussing “Delivering Effective New Product Introduction” during the show’s morning PechaKucha sessions. More details of location and time for all Industry Forum’s presentations will follow soon.

Not only are we also exhibiting at the show, we are also offering free consulting review sessions with one of our industry experts, for organisations that are looking to drive improvement in their competitiveness. These free sessions will start with a structured discussion of the current processes, application and performance, and we will then be able to provide you with a clear outline of where improvements can be made across your organisation.

Our industry experts will be available throughout the Advanced Engineering Show to conduct these sessions. You can book to talk to experts in the following capability areas:

Competitive Strategy and Management Systems
New Product Introduction
Manufacturing Operations
Supply Chain Management

Please click here to book your slot, indicating your desired capability area for discussion and your preferred date and time. If you would like to arrange a more general discussion with our expert team during the event, please give us an indication and we will pair you with the most appropriate expert. We will be in touch to confirm your slot.

Please note, you will need to register to attend Advanced Engineering as well as book your slot with our experts.

The pace of business is relentlessly increasing, with customers demanding ever shorter lead times and greater choice. The ability to satisfy this need is becoming a differentiator for many suppliers and an order winning competitive advantage in many of today’s marketplaces.

Within traditional mass production environments, being able to service the customer has often meant holding inventory. The amount of inventory is driven by factors such as replenishment lead time, demand variation and the frequency at which a product is batch processed. As we all know, holding inventory impacts on cash flow and adds risk to a business. The Value Added Ratio (VAR – usually illustrated as a ”castellated” line drawn along the bottom of a Value Stream Map) is a frequently used measure of the efficiency of the supplying value stream.

 

The VAR compares the sum of the actual processing times (”touch time”) for one individual item going through the value stream, against the overall elapsed (or ”calendar”) time taken. The elapsed time includes all queuing, setup, transportation and waiting time whilst the item is held in inventory. This is not an issue where demand is high and fairly stable, and inventory will turn over fairly rapidly. In this environment, companies often hold stock, either finished goods or WIP, as a buffer to demand and process variations.

But what about in a Make-to-Order environment, where demands can be volatile, and holding such buffers is too expensive and risky?

Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) has been developed as an approach to drive lead time improvement within ”Low Volume/High Variety” manufacturing environments (for example, Aerospace, Motorsport, Rail and Nuclear). The overriding measure used within QRM is Manufacturing Critical-Path Time, or MCT for short.

MCT measures the total response time from a customer placing an order to when they receive their item. It differs from VAR in that it takes account of the information flow time through Customer Service, Planning, Purchasing and Engineering, as well as Manufacturing and Logistics. MCT therefore gives one unifying system-wide metric that all functions can, and do affect – defined in a single number.

We all know the old adage “what gets measured,  gets done!” – but it really is true!

“Human beings adjust behaviour based on the metrics they’re held against. Anything you measure will impel a person to optimize his score on that metric. What you measure is what you’ll get. Period. This phenomenon plays out time and again in research studies. Give someone frequent flyer miles, and he’ll fly in absurd ways to optimize his miles.” – Harvard Business Review

Before explaining MCT with an example, it’s important to understand the concept of “Grey” and “White” space aligned to the lead times shown on a MCT map.

“Grey space” indicates the time when someone is working on an order. It’s similar to the “touch time” used in the VAR calculation – but it is not the same. It includes the time taken to produce one end item, but crucially, it also includes the full setup time for processes requiring changeovers (as you would still have to set up the process to produce a one-off).

“White space” indicates the remaining time when nothing is happening to the order. Again, we are considering one end item. So, if we are processing a batch of 100 parts, then only the time for one part is added to grey space, and the time for processing the remaining  99 parts is classed as white space. Add to this any queue time whilst the batch waits its turn with other orders going through a work centre, and transportation and warehouse times etc.

The MCT process map follows similar conventions to a Value Stream Map, with Information Flow going from right to left across the top of the map, and Material Flow going from left to right across the bottom. Both processing and inventory lead times are shown, as illustrated in the example below:

The corresponding lead times can then be illustrated in a MCT timeline map, which is illustrated below:

 

The convention here is that the “grey space” within each element bar is shown at the right-hand end of that bar.

From the above map, we can see this process has a MCT of 94 days. It also illustrates clearly which branch (and therefore, which process steps) is on the critical-path. From this, it becomes obvious that working on reducing the sheet metal or motor supply lead times is not going to affect the overall MCT number!

A traditional, process waste elimination focus might only attack the grey space portion of the lead time, when the greatest opportunity to cut lead time here is clearly to reduce the reasons causing the white space delays.

Also, every business function can, and does, affect MCT. Consequently, the MCT measure combats ‘silo thinking’, where local measures may drive an Area Manager to optimise local performance, but inadvertently sub-optimise the overall value stream. For example, to improve machine utilisation, the changeover frequency could be reduced. This would result in improved machine utilisation, but at the cost of extended lead times and increased WIP, as a result of producing very large batches!

MCT provides a simple, one number measure to understand both order fulfilment and system-wide waste, highlighting where to focus your elimination efforts. It drives behaviour to relentlessly attack the causes for lead time without “sandbagging” customer service through expensive stock holding. It is the overriding measure within Quick Response Manufacturing.

– July 2019 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.

Companies within the Aerospace industry have long since recognised that although they compete to gain market share, they also share common challenges. In the past, they have created differing techniques and methods to try and achieve the same results. To address this, the aviation, space, and defence industry established the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) for the purpose of achieving significant improvements in quality, delivery, safety, and reductions in cost, throughout the value stream. This organisation includes representation from companies in the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe. One of the more tangible results of the group’s activities is the release of a number of industry recognised standards.

AS9145 Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) / Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) was released by the IAQG in November 2016 to document the common approach to be used for the advanced quality planning for new product designs, new process designs, changes to existing designs and processes, and also covering changes in sources of supply.

AS9145 defines a process for APQP, which culminates in a PPAP submission to the customer for approval. This submission comprises a documentation pack incorporating up to 11 Aerospace industry agreed product quality planning elements:

1) The design record
2) Design risk analysis (DFMEA)
3) Process flow diagram
4) Process risk analysis (PFMEA)
5) Control plan
6) Measurement system analysis (MSA)
7) Initial process capability studies
8) Packaging, preservation and labelling approvals
9) First article inspection report (FAIR)
10) Customer PPAP requirements
11) PPAP approval form

Element 10 gives the customer the opportunity to add additional requirements to the PPAP submission – see table below for examples:

 

Once the submission is reviewed by the customer, a disposition is made under one of the following 3 categories:

Whilst FAIR is typically used by the Aerospace industry to demonstrate that the supply organisation has a process which will produce all of the features on the design record to specification, it is PPAP which demonstrates that the supply organisation has a process which will produce product that meets the required right first time target, at the production rate required by the customer.

Product Right              Process Right
First article inspection approved          Right first time at the agreed production rate

Industry Forum are pleased to announce the availability of a number of training courses in support of the techniques and methods suggested within the AS9145 standard:

AS9145 – APQP Essentials for Aerospace (1 Day)
AS9145 – PPAP Essentials for Aerospace (1 Day)
AS9145 – APQP and PPAP Essentials (2 Day)
AS9145 – APQP and PPAP Practitioner (5 Day)

To find out more about AS9145 APQP/PPAP and how Industry Forum can support your journey of improvement, email us or call us on +44 121 717 6600 to talk to one of our experts.

– July 2019 authored by Richard Hammond

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.

Great companies are launching new products on a regular basis but not every product launch is a success. A recent survey questioned CEOs about the success of new product introduction, and the resulting numbers were sobering. Findings from the survey reveal that 43% of new products and 41% of refreshed or modified products introduced to the market fail to meet one or more of the key target metrics established in the business case.

The top reasons for product introduction failure will probably not come as a surprise to anyone already engaged in new product development – schedule delays, cost overruns and not right first time (NRFT) product.

Anyone involved in a new product launch environment is likely, at some stage, to face schedule delays and NRFT product quality. The result is customer dissatisfaction, and the impact can range from simply an annoyance to new business hold for potential future opportunities. Factors contributing to schedule delays or NRFT product could be down to tooling, sourced components, equipment delivery or readiness, quality issues, product design freeze…the list is endless. Considering the number of deliverables to manage, it becomes imperative that a robust New Product Introduction (NPI) process is put in place to manage the launch of new products. Results from Industry Forum’s NPI self-assessment show that 63% of respondents have concerns over the effectiveness of their NPI process.

Cost overruns as a result of schedule delays and NRFT product hurt businesses launching new products more than the next customer in the chain. The only mode of recovery for cost overruns is internal improvements and it can be a challenge to implement improvements within the product launch cycle when the customer is looking to ramp up volumes. This often leads to a situation where an organisation has to keep up with customer demand and consequently, incurring additional containment costs, as well as absorbing the cost overruns until improvements are identified and implemented. Organisations striving for zero defects are unlikely to succeed if new products are continuously launched into manufacturing without achieving quality, cost and delivery targets.

What Can You Do to Drive Zero Defects with New Product Launch?

 

Whether it’s a start up or an experienced new product launch team, every launch is different and must be addressed as such. A few steps that may help to drive successful product launches are:

• Critical review of your existing NPI process, practices and skills within implementation teams.
• Identify a “new product launch lead” and team. Map out requirements from each participant in a product launch schedule.
• Determine the time and scale of a new product launch by creating a “baseline” readiness report.
• Create a new product launch plan with definitive and measurable goals.
• Build sales and operational readiness by ensuring that sales and operational teams are trained in new product launch excellence, and have sign off on the product launch date.
• Conduct a post-product launch evaluation to learn lessons for the future by performing a thorough assessment and debrief of actions.

To start your NPI improvement journey, complete your free NPI self-assessment here and one of our experts will provide you with feedback.

– July 2019 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.

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It is no secret that employees are right at the heart of any business, so it is important that they remain engaged so that they can continue to provide a high quality of work. Whether your employee is completely new or has been in the business for decades, is an apprentice or at an executive level, it’s important that everyone feels like they are making a contribution to the organisation’s objectives. This can be done by having a good quality management system that aligns throughout the entire business.

The benefits of having employees engaged in their work can be obvious, but it’s how we get them to be engaged that can be the issue. Here are a few examples of how, by utilising an excellent management system, you can work towards a more focused and dedicated workforce.

Goal Setting

All businesses should have goals and various types of them. From the top-level overall business goals right down to goals of the next marketing campaign, having something to aim for and towards is important. After you have clearly identified your business goals, these should be communicated to all employees in the business so that collectively, everyone is aiming for the same thing. By doing this, everyone can begin to understand the larger pictures of the company and will identify how their job can help contribute to those goals.

Continuous Learning

The continual development of all members of staff is crucial for if you want to better the team that you have and make them want to stay as your employees. Investing in the right people can pay dividends in the longer term. By first assessing the capabilities of your employees, you can work with them to identify gaps in their knowledge of which you can then train. By doing so, you are essentially investing in your employees which may create more engagement and also result in a better service delivered by them. By using training records as per your management system, you can track progress across the business and see what the next stages are.

Communication

As with most areas of business, communication is key. It’s important that you keep communication open with all members of your team and converse regularly. Whether this is to clarify on work that is being done or to see how an individual is getting on with a specific task, communication shows interest. Whether this communication is done via email or in person is completely dependents on the size and logistics of your business.

Appraisals

By having regular appraisals and/or reviews with employees ensures that they are heading in the right direction in terms of their work and gives you the opportunity to set any personal goals. In these appraisals, there can be discussions on workload, work difficulty and any challenges they feel they face. All of which can be used to better their experience and in turn, their engagement at work. This can also assist with employee motivation as it gives them the opportunity to discuss positive and negative feedback which can be used to better their role and bring confidence.

Rewarding & Sharing Success

Rewarding good performance in work is one of the easiest ways to engage employees as it gives them the confidence that they are doing their work well and are making an impression. Whether you set up a reward scheme to give back to your employees or you do so verbally every now and then can motivate others to work harder also. This helps to encourage both good behaviour and positive work engagement.

How will you implement your quality management system to help engage your employees? Find out how we can help with management system consultancy.

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