By James Pastor, VP, Quality, Adient [NYSE:ADNT]
At Adient, one of our key priorities within the quality organization is to mobilize our quality teams. What do we mean by mobilize? It’s simple. We want to get the quality teams within our manufacturing plants out from behind their desks and onto the shop floor. To do this, we have to provide our teams with the systems and tools traditionally accessed from a desktop or laptop computer on devices like tablets and smartphones via “app” development.
One “app” that Adient has recently developed and rolled out in our manufacturing plants assists in the process of conducting layered process audits (LPA). These process audits are used throughout our global manufacturing network to ensure that everyone is adhering to standardized processes and providing the desired output. Earlier, the process for conducting these audits was very cumbersome. The audits were conducted and results were captured on paper. The auditor would then sit down at a computer to enter in the results of the audit including any issues that were discovered. Any follow-up actions that were needed to close out issues were also required to be entered via the auditor’s computer and, finally, the process of tracking completion of the audits was also manual.
Obviously, our traditional process for conducting audits had a number of opportunities. First, there was a potential for delay between when the audit was conducted and when the results were entered into the system due to the need to have access to a computer.
The new tool or “app” allows the auditor to enter the audit results in real time using smart phones or tablets which eliminates the delay in entering the results
Second, the process of transferring the data from the audits conducted on paper check sheets to the computer allowed for the possibility of information being entered incorrectly. Third, keeping the issues list updated was challenging due to the fact that the list could only be updated when the auditor had access to a computer.
Finally, tracking the schedule to ensure the audits were not only being conducted but also completed on time was manual and it was difficult to get a clear picture of the actual status. All of these were opportunities for waste and needed to be eliminated.
The quality team, partnering with Adient’s IT team, worked with the manufacturing plants to clearly understand the problem statements and the challenges of the existing process. This new tool or “app” that was developed allows the auditor to enter the audit results in real time using their smart phone or tablet which eliminates the delay in entering the results and improves the accuracy of the data being entered. The audit results— including status for any issues that were discovered–can be viewed and updated using the app which increases the frequency of updates and more up-to-date information.
The audit schedule is also available on the electronic LPA tool, allowing for transparency around conducting the audits on time by all levels at the manufacturing plants. All information for every plant in our global manufacturing footprint is available to Adient’s team, so we can view real-time data and ensure that issues are being addressed appropriately.
Adient has recently completed the global rollout of this tool and the early feedback from the manufacturing plant teams has been outstanding. The new “app” is easy to use and the teams appreciate the time savings that are being realized which has resulted in significantly higher on-time completion rates of the audits as well as quicker closure of action items. The manufacturing leadership teams enjoy seeing their teams spending more time on the shop floor. For leaders who are responsible for multiple plants, the ease of generating reports through the app is a time-saver.
Overall, Adient’s quality mobilization initiative has been a real success and we have several other initiatives in the “app” development pipeline to further increase the quality teams’ efficiency.
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