The Client: Leader in Aerospace Manufacturing

Overview

The company is a leading manufacturer of forgings. With practically every aircraft’s safety and efficiency depending on its products, the Company places paramount importance on meeting highest product standards, process compliance and industry standard quality management processes such as AS9000,  ISO 9000  and Six Sigma.

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Solution

The Company needed a fitting solution to support its critical business processes for quality management, operational performance and continuous improvement.

The Company thoroughly examined a multitude of options available in the industry. On weighing these, the Company found the MetricStream GRC solution as the best fit for its requirements. The rationale behind the selection was MetricStream’s flexible architecture with embedded best practices supporting key processes for standards and regulations such as ISO 9000 along with superior reporting capabilities.

MetricStream delivered a Web-based, integrated quality management solution to the Company mapping to its specific requirements including NCR reporting, corrective and preventive action initiation and tracking.

MetricStream quality and compliance management solution: MetricStream’s solution for compliance and quality management is based on the robust MetricStream GRC Platform which is the underlying infrastructure for all MetricStream applications. The platform provides core services and capabilities such as workflows, role-based task assignments, automatic email notifications and alerts, roles-based information routing, real-time analysis of data for reports and dashboards, and ability to slice-and-dice statistics by a variety of parameters such as product lines, manufacturing units, and customers.

Non-conformance (NCR) recording: The solution allows quality engineers to initiate NCR with details such as issue type - product related or process related, customer complaint, initiating department, department that caused NCR, department that found NCR, shift, date of issue, customer name, customer PO, description of the part.

The application assigns a unique NCR case number to track the incident through various stages. It captures detailed information about the issue such as serial or non-serial nature of task, deviation description (for example, ‘The furnace door did not open and so the part did not transfer.’), cause category, cause code, defect code, issue responsibility, repeat issue or first time occurrence.

The solution also supports correlation with past data for quick analysis and decision on the need for containment or corrective action. MetricStream accelerates NCR review and approval cycles with automated workflow. It supports recording and automatic rule-based routing of non-conformance issues for review and disposition by the material review board.

Review and approval: The solution routes the non-conformance issue to authorized users based on pre-configured rules for review, approval, and disposition. The process review board authorities of the department that caused the issue can complete the NCR information, take disposition action and approve the NCR. The authorities are able to create a number of reports such as NCR Details report, Restrike Instructions Details report, and Rework Step Instruction Details report.

The solution supports categorization of the actions to be taken based on pre-defined criteria and severity level and identification of the responsible manufacturing unit/business unit.

Procedure for rework, retesting and re-evaluation can be initiated after determining quantities for the action categories. The data is applied to defects metrics to enable constant monitoring of manufacturing performance.

The solution also enables the HR manager to complete the employee discipline report which is sent to the employee’s supervisor. The supervisor can present the same to the employee and close the disciplinary action.

Investigation and corrective actions: The system assigns an owner to the investigation task based on the responsible department and defect type. A cross-functional team of investigators may also be assigned depending on the severity of defect/malfunction. Automated workflows drive the root cause analysis to identify the source of the defect and categorization of the type of issue such as a process issue, human error or equipment problem. The owner can create a detailed action plan with an estimated completion date and assign responsibility to carry out the action plan.

The department supervisor is able to conduct detailed incident investigations and employee investigations. The application supports incident investigation by capturing details such as supervisors and employees present, vendor if applicable, investigation due date, justification for change, details of what happened, (for example, ‘The employee pulled the wrong process sheet.’), the impact (for example, ‘Low impact, part can be processed normally.’), comments (for example, ‘Need a better filing system for process sheets - a corrective and preventive action (CAPA) should be initiated to prevent this from happening again.’), equipment details, conclusion and action (for example, ‘Selection of correct process sheet needs to be error-proof.’)

Quality managers can track the completion status of the action plan based on pre-defined milestones and trigger alerts in case of delays. Corrective actions with high severity can be marked for follow-up activity after a specific time period to confirm effectiveness of the action. The result of the follow up task is routed back to the quality unit for approval and final closure of the action.

Reports and metrics: The solution provides complete visibility into the non-conformance and corrective and preventive action process with easy status tracking. A transparent system with each case traceable from any desktop in the organization makes process management and execution a predictable and efficient process. Graphical executive dashboards and flexible reports with drill-down capability provide statistics, analytics and trend-tracking by a variety of parameters such as by batches, manufacturing units/plants, status, category, and action type.

Deployment approach and customization: MetricStream deployed the solution at the Company’s location following a phased implementation model.

MetricStream modified and customized the solution to map the Company’s requirements exactly.

Challenges

Manual component of manufacturing processes: Serving high-profile customers in a precision-oriented industry, the Company follows best-in-class processes. However, forging manufacturing involves a considerable amount of manual handling that cannot be avoided. The use of traditional means such as spreadsheets and email was making it cumbersome for the Company to conduct quality checks, inspections, non-conformance reporting (NCR), and defect tracking before shipping the manufactured parts to customers. Applying, managing and tracking corrective and preventive measures to heavy precision machinery based on usage metrics proved to be another challenge.

Lack of visibility: Unidentified gaps in the quality management process, difficulties in tracking quality issues, insufficient documented base for such problems, inadequate visibility into product quality trends and lack of an integrated system to ensure overall process compliance were some of the limitations of the legacy processes that the Company found itself facing.

Stringent compliance standards: Precision, sophistication and complete compliance to industry standards are some of the most important drivers in aerospace manufacturing arena. Given stringent mandates for safety, quality and reliability, the Company faced the need to enhance its business processes to be able to drive business performance incessantly.

Without the required detailed reports to refer to and with limited visibility, process and material review boards at the Company were finding it difficult to take appropriate final quality related decisions.

The Company needed to streamline its quality and reliability management including NCR reporting, defect tracking, disposition and rework, root cause analysis, and corrective and preventive action processes across its manufacturing sites.

Why the Company Selected MetricStream?

MetricStream’s integrated platform provides a comprehensive functionality for enterprise-wide non-conformance reporting.

Metrictream’s ability to configure its solution to map the Company’s manufacturing processes which include human intervention at many stages.

MetricStream platform has the capability to completely support the Company’s required NCR frameworks, documentation workflows and reporting requirements.

MetricStream solution offers advanced built-in functionalities to ensure integration of relevant regulatory information into the compliance management system.

“Managing quality processes effectively is a critical requirement for achieving our performance goals. We were looking for an integrated system using which we can identify, document, and track quality issues and ensure processes compliance. We chose MetricStream because its solutions are industry-proven with best practices that are pre-built into the solution,” explains the IT Manager and project sponsor from the Company.

Benefits

  • Enhanced quality:
    With streamlined defect tracking, root cause analysis, and corrective action processes across all manufacturing sites/plants, the Company experiences a huge increase in the product quality with significantly diminished occurrences of defects and deviations. This has enabled the Company to ship quality parts and prevent customer complaints and returns to a great extent.
  • Integrated compliance approach:
    MetricStream’s platform enables the Company to make the shift from isolated compliance initiatives and departmental silos of process-related information to an integrated enterprise-wide compliance and quality strategy.
  • Improved performance reporting:
    MetricStream’s integration, collaboration and workflow capabilities improve linkages between the Company’s manufacturing data in different systems and enable seamless communication and performance reporting across the manufacturing value chain of the Company. Early detection of defects and automatically triggered corrective action workflows and tracking ensures improved performance.
  • Intelligent decision-making:
    MetricStream’s integrated dashboards and advanced reporting capabilities increase the Company’s visibility into product quality trends. This along with the integrated manufacturing data contributes to the Company’s intelligent decision-making. PRB and MRB are able to take quick and correct quality decisions and put in place an appropriate prevention to minimize future dispositions.

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