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World Class: Is it a philisophical question?


World Class: Is it a philisophical question? | 9 October, 2000

I've run up against the same problem that I know many of us in the industry face; our management wants to obtain a "world class" level of production. This has come up before, and I've looked through several responses dealing with ppm (dpmo), failure rate, etc. We will end up using some of the figures given in these responses as a baseline, but I tend to think the question has a deeper answer. Wouldn't a "world class" production line include the attitude of the people working on it, the diligence of the engineer running it, the capability of the material handling systems (both in raw materials and finished goods), the layout of the system (continuous flow vs. batch production), the interest shown by senior management in removing the problems that arrise (that is part of their job isn't it???), etc, etc, etc...

So I put forth the question in hopes of thoughtful answers, what defines a world class assembly line other than simply comparing my defect levels to yours (which is of limited value since we build different products)???

Thanks in advance John

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Re: World Class: Is it a philisophical question? | 9 October, 2000

John, I hope your figures or numbers are part of your SPC process. Our management loves this stuff. I think the production line, world class or not would reflect the attitude of the people working on it(keep that between you and me) management doesnt want to hear that, because ultimately it is the Process and the procedures the people follow that will gauge your world class manufacturing environment. Look at it like this you could have the most skilled operators on your line, but if the procedures they follow....SUCK, what do you think the end result is? Same goes for lame operators following good procudures. I know of one way to ride the line of Lame head operators without finger pointing (management doesnt like this) Use the word apptitude. You can train a person do to a job for years if that individual hasnt the apptitude they will not learn it effectively.

There is my 2 cents DL

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Re: World Class: Is it a philisophical question? | 9 October, 2000

Hello John,

The biggest stumbling block is going to be taking these responses and applying them to your assembly process much the same as trying to make other manufacturers' defect levels apply to your process.

Ultimately, the overall quality of your production systems will hang in the balance between your equipment capability and your operator versatility. As for all applications, increased tool capability doesn't necessarilly equate to simplicity of operation.

With the job market leaving a somewhat shallow employment pool, the tendancy may best lean on finding automation solutions that are as close to operator independant as one can realisticly expect followed up by a series of supplier training programs on each tool. Unfortunately this often correlates to more money as I'm sure we're all aware. Yet, if management is looking for the world class line are they looking to spend the world class money? Yet again, that may be the most difficult obstacle to overcome.

Don't be affraid to tax your equipment vendors for process recommendations and alternate solutions. Sometimes you'd be surprised at what resources you can get there. Sure they're looking to sell product, but they are one of the true resources that operates across all types of production applications and volume production categories. I'm sure you can get them to do some of the leg work for you regarding ROI models, training solutions, and cost justifications for unit production as well. After all, they have to prove their worth to you.

Good luck, Sean

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Re: World Class: Is it a philisophical question? | 9 October, 2000

See this is great!!! Ask one question, get a different answer from each responder ... cool!!! My turn ...

There�s an old expression � the head of a dead fish starts to stink first. What that has to do with question, I don�t know. May be you do.

OK OK. Try this one � when in Rome do as the Romans do.

I believe all employees want to do a good, high quality job. Generally, their achievement of this high quality craftsmanship is limited by their abilities, knowledge, and tools. Continuing, the abilities, knowledge, and tools that management chooses to provide their employees determines the performance level the employees.

Which leads to � Quality flows down hill.

This is not to say the DL is incorrect and that there isn�t some folk don�t have the aptitude for electronic assembly. If they don�t, they should be set free, so they can get on with their life�s work stocking at Wal*Mart [or where ever] and stop being a burden on people that love electronic assembly and think it is about the coolest line of work on the planet.

Also, not all people have the same ability, nor will they ever get it, no matter how much effort is put into training and what not � Frankly, I could not do the meticulous work that some of our operators do for much more than one minute, much less day in, day out for years. But, I surely will keep trying to do the things I do well [that they probably could care less about doing] so that they have less frustration, uncertainty, and bull funky.

We try to limit our use of worldclassquality, zerodefectblablabla, sixsigma, and like words, unless management is willing and able to demonstrate their commitment by doing more than talking. Initially, talk is a wonderful inspiration, but after awhile it has a very short persistence. It�s like someone said during an unhappy conversation � I can�t hear what you�re saying, because your actions are speaking so loudly.

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Re: World Class: Is it a philisophical question? | 10 October, 2000

Did I miss something, is there a competition, a championship out there? World class with a bicycle or a racing car ? And still there�s the question, what�s the measure ? Stock quotes, workers, products, customers, nature ?

It wouldn�t be "world class" if not all in this game become winners no matter if you drive a Ferrari, a bike or a kayak.

... and he worked with a smile on his face and so was his product


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Re: World Class: Is it a philisophical question? | 10 October, 2000

Thanks for the responses, and I tend to agree. I would much rather go through a more structured continuous improvment process (set goals, meet them, set new goals and so on). Our company is rather small and made the jump from all through hole to mixed technology (bottom side smt using glue and wave) during the last year. We will be introducing double sided reflow in the next year. In a typical production run I will see an unmeasurably low occurance of voids, 150 dpmo bridges (SOP-8 incorrectly oriented), 20 dpmo skips (nasty little sot-23 with a poorly designed pad layout), 150 dpmo smt components lost in wave soldering. I measure them independently since a combined measurement just clouds the issue. Components misplaced prior to curing has become unmeasurable (excepting AOI which we don't use). My management is of them opinion that six sigma (3 dpmo) is reachable in smt. I'm of the opinion that we are doing pretty well for the short time we've been at it and that a truly world class production line includes a lot more than those defect levels. But anyway, so I can satisfy them, are these defect levels "acceptable" on a world class manufacturing line?? Are they typical in the industry?? Or are we just that bad??

And again, thanks for the response,


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Re: World Class: Is it a philisophical question? | 11 October, 2000

You could always try posting "The Beatings Will Commence Until Moral Improves" signs all over your production floor.

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