Driving Quality – Part 3: Turning Compliance into an Opportunity

David Gurr
By David Gurr | March 17, 2021
Account Manager

Fact checked by Stephen O'Reilly

Optimism, a can-do attitude. These things can help you take something that is often perceived to be a hassle or “red tape” and flip it on its head; turn it into a positive thing. Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive suppliers can turn the IATF 16949:2016 compliance requirement for statistical process control (SPC) from an overhead into an opportunity, and from a cost into a net benefit.
As I noted in earlier posts of the Driving Quality blog series, many suppliers viewed the standard as a compliance issue—a necessary hoop that had to be jumped through in order to continue to do business with their customers. The goal was often simply to just have enough of a business process to satisfy an auditor. Those business processes would be implemented by forms, forms, and more forms—as manual processes. Because manual processes are cheap, right? And paper forms are easy. Wrong!
Automotive Manufacturing
About ISO/TS 16949:
ISO/TS 16949 is a technical specification for automotive sector quality management systems that has become one of the most widely used international standards in the automotive industry, merging the different assessment and certification systems in the global automotive supply chain.
On October 3, 2016, IATF 16949:2016 was published by the IATF, re-defining the requirements of a quality management system for organizations in the automotive industry.


Beyond Capability

“Satisfying an auditor” often takes the form of a manual “capability” study. This means that for each process and each characteristic on each part, data is assembled, loaded into an Excel spreadsheet, and a measure of process capability is derived. This report is then archived and (if required) sent to the client.
FYI: We polled Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers on LinkedIn about how they would satisfy the SPC requirements of IAT 1649:2016, and the results were eye-opening:

- Capability study in Excel – 56%
- SPC software run each week/month/quarter – 12%
- Real-time SPC software tool – 29%
- Ignore the SPC requirements – 3%
Although it was a popular answer, the spreadsheet solution is a laborious process, to say the least—particularly if there are high numbers of parts, characteristics, or processes involved. The time taken to prepare these reports is “dead time”—during which no productive work can be performed. It’s a cost to the manufacturer, pure and simple.
So, what if I told you there was a way to collect and analyze the necessary data that would essentially erase all that dead time? And what if you, as the manufacturer, could actually use the analysis to help improve quality, minimize scrap, and reduce the need for rework? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, as it turns out, not really…

Enacting Role-Based Information and Analysis

Enact®, the Quality Intelligence platform from InfinityQS, is designed to achieve exactly this. Enact helps manufacturers collect all their SPC data and quality-related metrics in real time, no matter how or where they are generated, into a centralized data repository—a single version of the truth. Whether from manual tests by operators, from batch operations via CMM, or from unattended in-process devices or sensors, Enact can collect all data in real time into a single, standardized, centralized database.
Enact Role-Based Dashboard for Analysis 
Enact Role-Based Dashboard for Analysis

Enact enables different audiences (users) to view different analyses of this data—in real time, without waiting for reports. Each user can see the analysis that matters to them, in real time, based on physical scope (location, or groups of parts, or processes) and time (short-, medium-, or long-term). What’s more, each user can then ask questions of that analysis and get the answers—instantly.
That analysis is presented in a way that allows you to aggregate, or “roll up,” data—so you can easily find out, for example, which shift has the biggest process variation? Or which line or machine? Or which plant? Or even which country? And you can then “drill down” to find out why.
Automated Car Manufacturing

Fast and Inexpensive Implementation

Even better, implementing Enact isn’t a massive IT project. Because it’s a cloud-based solution accessed through a web browser, it doesn’t rely on local servers or desktop application software. In truth, there’s little for your IT team to need to be involved with. And since it’s a subscription service billed monthly based on usage, initial costs are low. With small project teams, a new Enact implementation can be up and running within weeks. You read that right: within weeks.
We’re now starting to see some new OEM contracts specifically requiring suppliers to provide remote, real-time access to capability information for auditors. That’s just not possible with a spreadsheet approach. But with Enact, that information is available with just a few mouse clicks.
So, it’s time to turn lemons into lemonade. Turn IATF 16949:2016 SPC compliance from an overhead into an opportunity, and from a cost into a net benefit. Unlock the potential of your data today.
Read the other articles in this blog series:  
Contact your local Enact Channel Partner.


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