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A leading manufacturer of golf equipment. The customer is a premier manufacturer of high performance golf equipment, apparel and shoes that are used by professional golfers across the world to win golf tournaments.
Associated with high quality and performance, the company’s products are used by some of the top professional golfers in the world. However, it isn’t easy maintaining that consistency in quality, given the breadth and scope of the company’s operations. For instance, clubs are sourced from the Far East, and assembled in California and Japan. Considering the extent of this supply chain, it is critical for the company to continuously monitor process capability or Cpk. (Cpk is a way of statistically arriving at a number that predicts the ability of the manufacturing process to produce parts as per the specification.)
Earlier, the company ran rigorous process capability programs to ensure quality. However, as the demand grew and markets expanded, the company found that its programs were no longer cost-effective, nor up-to-date. Moreover, they were becoming inefficient and increasingly difficult to manage.
In response, the company opted to upgrade its supplier quality management processes with MetricStream Solution. MetricStream enabled the company to establish an integrated, on-going and automated process of monitoring supplier quality compliance, measuring Cpk and identifying SKUs that fell outside the requisite thresholds
The company wanted to establish a seamless process for supplier inspections and process capability monitoring that was integrated across suppliers, engineers and managers. They also wanted to automate critical quality calculations, accelerate workflows, and gain greater visibility into supplier quality metrics at the enterprise level.
After considering several quality management systems, the company chose MetricStream Solution based on its rich and flexible functionalities, as well as its potential to significantly strengthen the company’s supplier quality management processes.
MetricStream provided the company an integrated Supplier Quality Management Solution replete with powerful dashboards, alerts and comprehensive reports. The 100% Web-based solution enables the company to streamline supplier quality management workflows, conduct inspections, define specifications and sampling plans for SKU attributes, automate Cpk calculations and accelerate issue identification and correction.
Supplier quality data entry: MetricStream’s integrated capabilities enable all the company’s suppliers to enter information for SKUs on a common interface. This makes it convenient to calculate Cpk and conduct inspections across multiple suppliers and locations. Security is ensured through separate logins and access controls. Therefore, each supplier can only enter data for those SKUs, classes and models that he/she has authority over.
Once the data is entered, it accumulates with previously entered data for the week to provide a comprehensive snapshot of SKU details. Multiple high level and detailed reports provide visibility into the extent of data that has been entered.
Inspection management: MetricStream Solution enables the company’s engineers to establish a systematic process for collecting, plotting and analyzing inspection data to identify material non-conformance before lots are shipped.
The company’s engineers can predefine attributes, processes and dimensions for the various SKUs. If the data is insufficient, a complaint can be initiated.
Users can generate inspection forms by entering either enter ad hoc inspection details, a PO receipt, or WIP completion. The system then leverages Skip-Lot Logic to determine which items should be inspected, and which should be skipped. It also helps determine sample size through fixed sampling percentages or a planned table. This eliminates tedious manual involvement, and accelerates inspections.
Cpk for inspection attributes is calculated against various factors such as SKU, SKU class, attribute, class, geography and supplier, with multiple drill-down paths. The calculations are automated, thus minimizing the risk of errors and the time taken for calculation. The system also simplifies the ability to determine if the inspection passed or failed. If it failed, the issue is automatically routed for non-conformance investigation.
Every two hours, MetricStream Solution recalculates Cpk information for each supplier. If the result falls below the required level, automatic alerts are immediately sent to the quality engineer and supplier, with reports of the offending SKUs. Thus supplier quality can be monitored continually, proactively and in real time. Also, issues can be identified and resolved quickly.
MetricStream Solution provides real-time alerts in other instances as well – when an inspection request is assigned to an auditor, or when an inspection request has not been completed within the due date, or when an inspection request has been completed and routed for review/approval.
Reporting: MetricStream Solution provides a number of comprehensive reports to track the status of supplier quality management. Suppliers receive reports detailing the process/attributes that they are responsible for, along with all computations used in determining the Cpk. Historical Cpk trends can be identified with the number of poor and mediocre Cpks highlighted in colour codes.
Similar values can be viewed by the company’s engineers through week-by-week details of all the Cpks for a particular supplier, aggregated for all the SKUs. The reports can be drilled down to view individual SKUs, as well as Cpk trends.
MetricStream Solution also provides powerful dashboards with role-based access that help track the status of supplier quality management in real-time. Embedded scorecards help monitor supplier performance, measuring Key Performance Indicators, and tracking them against milestones.
Cumbersome manual processes: The company’s engineers used spreadsheets to enter inspection data, calculate Cpk and prepare reports. This was an extremely time-consuming process, given the volume of data, products and suppliers that had to be studied. Engineers had to manually sift through hundreds of unwieldy papers, verify the accuracy of data and check that thresholds had not been breached. Despite their best efforts, there was always the likelihood of data errors occurring.
Ad hoc quality checks: Monitoring process capability required collecting inspection data from suppliers, manually calculating Cpk, preparing reports and distributing them to users. Considering the effort and time required to complete this process, it was nearly impossible to ensure ongoing, consistent checks on quality. Process capability monitoring was usually conducted only once a month. This raised the possibility that some products that did not meet Cpk standards, would escape review.
Delay between data collection and report preparation: Given the volume of products that are manufactured every day, it is critical for managers to identify and correct quality issues in a timely manner. Earlier, engineers had to spend so much time gathering inspections data and analyzing quality, that issue identification and resolution was inevitably delayed. This, in turn, stalled product roll out.
Limited visibility into reports: Instead of gaining real-time visibility into supplier quality, the company’s managers had to wait for process capability reports to be manually filed every month. Many of these reports were out-dated, and did not provide the in-depth insights required to make important strategic decisions. This limited managerial ability to identify quality-based issues and trends in a timely manner, and address them quickly.
MetricStream Supplier Quality Management Solution is widely used by leading global corporations in the manufacturing industry
The solution provides robust security capabilities that enable it to be used across multiple suppliers, vendors and contractors
The solution streamlines, automates and integrates end-to-end workflows for increased efficiency and reduced risk of errors
Flexible capabilities enable the solution to be seamlessly integrated with existing systems including the Internal Quality and Supplier Quality modules for corrective actions
MetricStream solution is scalable, easy-to-use, and can be extended to address other areas of GRC including Corrective/Preventive Action, Issue Remediation, Auditing and Risk Management