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What is Total Quality Management?

What is Total Quality Management?

What is Total Quality Management?

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement in all aspects of an organization. It involves creating a culture of quality that permeates every level of the organization, from the top management to the shop floor workers. In this blog post, we’ll explore the principles of TQM and how they can be applied to improve the quality of products and services in any organization.

6 Principles of Total Quality Management:

Customer Focus

The first principle of Total Quality Management is customer focus. The organization must understand the needs and expectations of its customers and strive to exceed them. This requires a deep understanding of the customer’s requirements and the ability to deliver on those requirements consistently.

Continuous Improvement

The second principle of TQM is continuous improvement. This involves a commitment to ongoing improvement in all aspects of the organization, from processes to products and services. It involves a willingness to identify and address problems as they arise, and to seek out opportunities for improvement.

Employee Involvement

The third principle of Total Quality Management is employee involvement. This involves engaging employees at all levels of the organization in the improvement process. Employees are encouraged to identify problems and suggest solutions, and their input is valued and acted upon.

Process Approach

The fourth principle of TQM is the process approach. This involves a focus on the processes that drive the organization, rather than individual tasks or activities. By improving processes, the organization can improve the quality of its products and services and reduce waste and inefficiencies.

Data-Driven Decision Making

The fifth principle of Total Quality Management is data-driven decision-making. This involves using data and analytics to drive decisions, rather than relying on intuition or guesswork. Data can provide insights into customer needs, process efficiency, and product quality, allowing the organization to make informed decisions that improve its performance.

Management Leadership

The final principle of TQM is management leadership. This involves a commitment from top management to lead by example and create a culture of quality throughout the organization. Leaders must set the tone for the organization and demonstrate their commitment to quality in all their actions.

Photo by Leon on Unsplash

Application of Total Quality Management

TQM can be applied to any organization, regardless of size or industry. The key is to start with a commitment to quality and a willingness to embrace the principles of Total Quality Management.

Here are some ways that TQM can be applied to improve the quality of products and services in an organization:

Identify and prioritise customer needs

Start by identifying the needs and expectations of your customers. Conduct surveys, focus groups, and other research to gather insights into what your customers want from your products and services. Once you have identified these needs, prioritize them based on their importance to your customers.

Implement continuous improvement processes

Create processes for identifying and addressing problems as they arise. Encourage employees to suggest solutions and implement changes that improve processes, products, and services. Continuously measure performance to ensure that improvements are making a positive impact.

Engage employees at all levels

Involve employees in the improvement process by providing training, support, and opportunities for input. Encourage a culture of open communication and collaboration that allows employees to share their ideas and expertise.

Use data to drive decisions

Implement systems for collecting and analyzing data that can provide insights into process efficiency, product quality, and customer needs. Use this data to make informed decisions that improve performance and drive continuous improvement.

Demonstrate leadership commitment

Demonstrate your commitment to quality by leading by example. Communicate the importance of quality to employees at all levels of the organization and create a culture of quality that is embraced by all.

In conclusion, Total Quality Management is a powerful management philosophy that can drive continuous improvement and improve the quality of products and services in any organization.

Have you ever had any experience with Total Quality Management? Leave a comment below!

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How To Make Effective Digital Work Instructions

How To Make Effective Digital Work Instructions

How To Make Effective Digital Work Instructions

Leave Paper Behind and Revolutionise Your Assembly Processes

Digital work instructions are an essential tool for the manufacturing industry, particularly for assembly operations.

Digital work instructions replace traditional paper-based work instructions with digital instructions that are accessible through a computer or mobile device. These instructions provide several benefits to manufacturers, including improved productivity, quality, and safety.

In this blog post, we’ll explore how Digital work instructions are revolutionising assembly manufacturing and why more manufacturers are adopting this technology.

Improve Productivity

Digital work instructions improve productivity by reducing the time it takes for operators to find the correct work instructions, reducing the number of errors made during assembly, and streamlining the assembly process. With paper-based work instructions, operators often spend a significant amount of time searching through stacks of papers for the correct instructions. With Digital, operators can quickly search for and find the instructions they need on their computer or mobile device.

Additionally, Digital work instructions provide operators with visual aids such as pictures, videos, and animations, which make it easier to understand complex assembly instructions. These visual aids are particularly helpful for new or temporary workers who may not have as much experience with the assembly process.

Reduce Errors

One of the biggest advantages of Digital work instructions is the reduced likelihood of errors during assembly. With traditional paper-based instructions, it’s easy for operators to miss a step or misinterpret an instruction, leading to costly rework and quality issues. With Digital, the instructions are clear, concise, and easy to follow, reducing the risk of errors.

Digital instructions also have built-in quality checks that ensure that each step of the assembly process is completed correctly before moving on to the next step. This reduces the likelihood of errors and ensures that the final product meets the required quality standards.

Quickly Identify Areas for Improvement

Digital work instructions can help streamline the assembly process by providing operators with real-time feedback on their progress. Operators can mark off completed steps as they go, and the system will automatically move them to the next step in the process. This eliminates the need for supervisors to physically check on each worker’s progress and ensures that the assembly process is running smoothly.

They can also help identify areas of the assembly process that are causing delays or bottlenecks. By analyzing data from them, manufacturers can identify areas for improvement and make changes to the assembly process to increase efficiency.

Increase Safety

Digital work instructions can help improve safety in the assembly process by providing operators with clear instructions on how to use equipment safely and how to perform assembly tasks without injury. They can also provide operators with information on potential hazards and how to avoid them, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries.

In conclusion, Digital work instructions are transforming the assembly manufacturing industry by improving productivity, reducing errors, streamlining the assembly process, and improving safety. With the benefits of going digital becoming increasingly apparent, it’s no surprise that more manufacturers are adopting this technology to stay competitive in the ever-evolving manufacturing landscape.

We regularly post on our YouTube channel, where you can find out more about digital manufacturing.

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Tighten Multiple Fasteners in One Quick and Easy Step

Tighten Multiple Fasteners in One Quick and Easy Step

Tighten Multiple Fasteners in One Quick and Easy Step

With the aim of making it simpler to control the process of tightening multiple fasteners in one process, we’ve just published a Tascus update that enables you to tighten a batch of fasteners in one Tascus step.

Configuring a Batch Tighten

To tighten a batch of fasteners, when configuring the step within the sequence, set the Batch Qty to the number of fasteners to be tightened.

 

 

Update Image Overlays

To display image overlays highlighting which fastener to tighten, click on the Edit button.

Set the position of an overlay by clicking on the image , you can change the overlay number by using the + and – buttons on the bottom menu bar.

 

 

 

Want to learn more?

If you haven’t yet moved your manufacturing process to digital. You can watch a free demo of Tascus here.

 

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How To Make Your Mark by Engaging Employees

How To Make Your Mark by Engaging Employees

How To Make Your Mark by Engaging Employees

There’s a difference between being a business owner, and being a true entrepreneur; the latter has a passion, a spark, a hunger to drive their legacy forward and make a lasting difference in their industry. Mark Whitten is one such individual. His commitment to not just his company – but the people and culture behind it – is truly inspirational.

I was lucky enough to get the chance to chat with Mark, President & CEO of Spartanburg Steel. Mark took over this 40-year-old ship two years ago, and it was clear that change was urgent. After ending up in manufacturing by accident, Mark found it his responsibility to conquer SSP’s recent hardships and transform it into the 2.0 powerhouse it is today.

In this exclusive interview, Mark reveals his best-kept secrets behind what goes into building a successful team – which is his number one priority and the driving force behind his business’s success. He also exposes his thought processes behind true performance, along with the value of hard work and determination, explaining how he grew from an hourly employee in a manufacturing facility to the industry authority he is today.

Mark truly has some invaluable insights to share, including the monthly habits he and his team implement to sustain the success they’ve worked so hard to build. This is not an interview you’ll want to miss out on. Hit the button below to check it out right now!

It seems building an engaged team is your number one priority in terms of building a successful business, would you agree?

I started my career as an hourly employee in a manufacturing facility. So, the way I look at leadership is different. I’ve seen good leaders and I’ve seen some not so good leaders in my day. And that formed my thought process that having an engaged workforce that understands the goals of the organisation and is pushing along with leadership in order to achieve those. We do coffee chats with employees, we do surveys, we do Ask the President box. We have one on one meetings. So, yeah, I do believe engagement is a critical part of business.

What kind of challenges have you found with team culture & how did you overcome them?

Two years ago, I came to Spartanburg, and it’s a 40-year-old company, so there’s a lot of history, there’s a lot of “we’ve always done things this way. Why do we need to change?” So a lot of resistance around the need to change.

Obviously, I saw the need to change as I came into the organisation, and I saw that we weren’t performing well to our customers, to our employees, and also financially. I had all the reason in the world why we needed to change. But if you’ve been here 25 years or 30 years, in some cases with some of our employees, they really didn’t understand the reason, so that resistance means continuous educating, discussing, sharing, getting the people to understand their reasons.

There’s a lot of selling to the operation, of why we need to do this and how and what’s the benefit to them. And to me, it’s always job security. I mean, you have to be competitive. You have to be financially performing in order to be sustainable long term, and that’s really what the message is to the workforce here.

You mentioned that you started as an hourly employee in a manufacturing plant. Tell us a little bit about how you got your start in manufacturing?

I went to college and I took Business Administration, and I realised that I couldn’t really understand what that was going to lead to. And I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life at that time. Then my mother found an advertisement for a new company that was opening up in the city, that was close by to where I was living, and they were advertising new company freight liner, trucks it was. They were building a new facility, hiring from the ground up. My mother shared that with me and said, you should apply there. I said, I don’t know anything about it, but sure. And that’s how I started.

I got hired and I started on the floor as an employee, loading steering gears and frame rails and different things like that for these heavy, classic trucks. And I fell in love with manufacturing from that point forward and just continued my career. I ended up working for General Motors for a period of time, then with most of my career spent with Magna International, a tier one automotive supplier to the automotive industry.

What is it that you love about manufacturing?

Every day is a new challenge, as I’m sure you can appreciate. It’s fast moving. It’s a lot of high energy, a lot of changing continuously. I think it’s fun, but it burns a lot of people out, especially in the automotive space. It’s a highly competitive space to be in. I love running around with my hair on fire most of the time. And if you don’t like to work that way, it’s probably not great for you to be in that space. But I do. It’s not boring, it’s not like coming to work and having a monotonous or routine role.

You really got to be a chameleon. You got to be able to move between, the tactical day to day stuff where you’ve got the whirlwind, it’s constantly happening and then you have to be strategic and have vision and plans to achieve the greater good.

You mentioned that you started as an hourly employee in a manufacturing plant. Tell us a little bit about how you got your start in manufacturing?

I went to college and I took Business Administration, and I realised that I couldn’t really understand what that was going to lead to. And I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life at that time. Then my mother found an advertisement for a new company that was opening up in the city, that was close by to where I was living, and they were advertising new company freight liner, trucks it was. They were building a new facility, hiring from the ground up. My mother shared that with me and said, you should apply there. I said, I don’t know anything about it, but sure. And that’s how I started.

I got hired and I started on the floor as an employee, loading steering gears and frame rails and different things like that for these heavy, classic trucks. And I fell in love with manufacturing from that point forward and just continued my career. I ended up working for General Motors for a period of time, then with most of my career spent with Magna International, a tier one automotive supplier to the automotive industry.

One of your values is that ‘Structure drives behaviour’. Tell us what that means and what you feel that does?

Well, just to give a little bit of colour around my vision, SSP 2.0. 2 years ago, when I joined the organisation, and again, it’s a family run business, 40 years plus. This has been a very successful company for many years. They went through some hardships in the last few years. It’s one of the reasons I came. But I wanted to honour the past.

I didn’t want in any way for the team here, the employees here, nor ownership to feel like I came in and we’re going to change everything and we’re going to do everything different. I wanted to honour 1.0, I call it. So SSP 1.0 is the past and SSP 2.0 is the future. It doesn’t mean 1.0 is bad, it just means that we have to change. The world is changing and we have to change along with that. So that’s 2.0 and there’s a lot of components to 2.0.

One of the pieces of that is accountability and structure. And as I came into the organisation, I didn’t really follow who reports to who or what the structure was. And I knew if that was the case, that our employees didn’t understand what the goals of the organisation or who to report to etc. So that whole structure piece, getting structure, creating the structure, creating accountability and creating cadence. That’s how we run our operation, minute by minute. It’s really the three components.

And so my belief is, exactly as you say, is structure drives behaviour and ultimately it drives the results.

How does that vision trickle down throughout the business and help you achieve those monthly, quarterly, annual goals?

The 2.0 gave us a clear line in the sand where we could kind of separate ourselves from the past and we could then start to move towards a future state. When you talk to the team here, any level of individual in this business, they will reference 2.0 all the time. Even things like, “well, that’s not 2.0, that’s 1.0”. So they’ll recognise that was the past, and this is the future.

It has made it fun, it gives us all a ‘what’. I have visual tools and we’ve got a roadmap of 2.0, what it looks like and the components of that. We talk a lot about the goals of the organisation with the employees and making sure that everybody understands that. But really, that 2.0 is the vehicle of how we will achieve world class results.

We know we’re not world class yet, we don’t claim to be. But we have a desire to be. And that’s really what that vision statement was about. We want to be a world class company, we want to do things in a world class way.

So it’s really creating that vision. And I can tell you it’s working because in 2021 we had our best year in the last, say, four years, customer issues went down by 80%. We were profitable for the first time in four years. I really give the credit to the team here.

Have mentors played a role in helping you to get where you are today?

Yeah, absolutely. Interestingly enough, and I go back to referencing my start in my career was as an hourly shop floor employee, having those glasses and looking through those glasses, looking at management’s behaviour, I saw some great leaders, but I witnessed some awful leaders as well. And I will tell you, that both were equally important in my development because I got to see first hand what doesn’t work, what I shouldn’t do if I’m ever to be a leader.

I never planned to be a president or CEO, but I certainly witnessed some really poor behaviour from leaders and I saw some great mentors that I learned a tremendous amount. I didn’t come out of University and go directly into a management role, I went the other way and learned through the harder way of being a shop floor hourly employee and earning my time on the floor. Honestly, I think that that’s one of the reasons I consider myself to be a different type of leader.

How would you say you’ve had to change personally to get from employee to CEO?

I think having the opportunity to work in three countries, different companies, and learning from what I would refer to as a humble start, as a shop floor employee, and over time, having the opportunity to be in many different roles, in quality, in continuous improvement, as an assistant plant manager, plant manager.

The combination of that has certainly moulded who I am today and how my belief windows and how I treat others. I certainly couldn’t have predicted back when I was a young person just starting that I ever had aspirations to be in the role I’m in today. It just worked out that way. I worked hard and made a LOT of mistakes and learned from those mistakes.

What’s the best way for people to find out more about you and get in touch?

LinkedIn is the best way.

I’m happy to share information. I reply on a regular basis to most people that send me notes and messages.

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How Visualising Data is Improving Productivity

How Visualising Data is Improving Productivity

How Visualising Data is Improving Productivity

Just as there’s a storyteller behind every novel, every car on the road is made possible by the manufacturers of steel and aluminium. But not every manufacturer is created equal…

Led by Arun Thandapani, Hirschvogel is a pioneering steel and aluminium part supplier that’s changing the face of the sector as we know it. Arun and his team are taking the technological side of manufacturing to the next level, leveraging the manpower-freeing potential of automation to meet evolving industry demand.

In this eye-opening interview, Arun reveals how he and his team are going where no metal manufacturer has gone before – connecting data points to reality. By deriving meaningful insights hidden behind data, Arun and his crew are bringing the industry better results than ever before.

Ready to dive into the future of data-driven decision making in the steel and aluminium manufacturing sector? Let’s go!

How did you get involved in the automotive industry?

So, I started out studying mechanical engineering back in South India. In fact, I wanted to be a software engineer, but my father wanted me to be a mechanical engineer. So we struck a deal. I became a mechanical engineer and said, I will learn all the software on the side. This helped me when I decided to come for my masters here in Columbus, Ohio. I came to Ohio State University and pursued my industrial systems engineering, and that’s where I got introduced to manufacturing and especially metal farming forging and stamping technologies. As my first exposure to manufacturing research, I got hooked onto it.

I was able to use all my skill sets when it comes to what I learned in metal farming and also my software skill sets and programming as a research associate. I graduated doing research and stamping. But then I ended up joining Hirschvogel Incorporated here in Columbus, Ohio, as a process engineer.

And that’s my journey into manufacturing, per se. And I spent a lot of time on the floor doing specific process engineering work that gave me the hands on knowledge as to how to deal with process variables, how to handle variation, how to address them, and how to use my research skill sets to optimise the process.

 

Do you think your mix of Mechanical skills & Software knowledge has given you a competitive advantage?

One of the things that I notice is you usually have an engineer who knows mechanical stuff. They learn about hydraulics, pneumatics, specific servo motors and stuff like that. You learn basic components of a machinery, but then what you do not learn is how to take data from there and actually convert that data into information and insight. And that’s the portion where I feel the engineers who do not have a background in data or data analytics have a difficulty trying to analyse it.

So as an engineer and you’re doing some programming work, you could easily take that up and try to analyse whether it’s a correlation. You can sift through millions of data points and actually find out what are the erroneous ones, and you can remove them and do a lot of data cleaning. And that’s the majority of the time that the engineers will struggle because they see a lot of things, but they don’t know what to do with it. And if you can’t connect the data to the reality, the data is useless. So having this exposure of both working with data analytics and the process mining portion of it, along with the background of what happens, actually physically on the floor, helped me put things together and derive insights. Which was not easy.

Can you give us any examples of transformations that have been made through linking data to the processes happening on the shop floor?

Absolutely, usually data about inventory and so on is inside ERP packages, and it’s in a form where you can’t see it’s in numbers and screens. You have to scroll across a lot of screens to find out what’s happening. And what you’re missing sometimes is, what is our target? Because you don’t have a target inside, you just have no idea what’s going on.

For example, I put this table together and then we were like, okay, at the end of the year, we want to be at $50 million for the year in inventory. And then you see you blew through it because there are chip shortages and stuff like that happening in the industry and then you’re not able to control your inventory. But if you make it visual, people will get it, people see it. And if this data point is just sitting inside ERP and it’s individually managed by different people, and if you don’t give individual targets to them, they just won’t
understand what’s happening and they just don’t know how they can respond to it. That’s the difficulty when they see this. And if you see a full bar and you don’t understand what’s inside it, you got to split up.

Then you can start to ask questions and adjust KPI’s, this is the kind of thing that you can do on a day to day basis to enhance your company and your business as a whole.

So how do you think the manufacturing landscape will change over the next decade? What do you think the big drivers will be?

I think data driven decision making is going to be a commonplace going forward. We are all going to be needed to interpret the results and to ask more knowledgeable questions. Each of the machining modules and every piece of the puzzle in the value string is going to be smart, right? It’s going to put out a lot of data.

And I feel like over a period of time, certain industries will become like a black box almost where certain things are fine tweaked and there is like automated machine learning algorithms or AI engines that are running to interpret and optimise it further.

And then the people on top are going to look at the outcomes or potential choices for those algorithms to take. It could give us some meaningful courses of direction, saying, look, you could imagine almost like Iron Man kind of thing, that’s what’s going to happen, right? Can I change this or can I change that?

I think in 10-15 years from now, the spaces with which innovation is going on. I think it’s quite possible that we could go to a point where AI and ML are becoming the main interface into your manufacturing. Options could be thrown out based out from those AI engines. And the leaders and people would be making decisions from based on that what choices that it throws out.

 

Do you think that means hiring of people with different skill sets or just training of the people?

I think there’s got to be new engineers coming in. The young talent who come in, would need to know about dealing with data and trying to connect the pieces of the puzzle. You also have a workforce that’s already engaged at work. We need to now teach them, this is interesting stuff. You no longer have to use your muscle for things. Things are going to be automated. You’re going to use your brain for changing things. So, it’s exciting times.

And if we empower people the right way, I think it will be a very interesting journey for everyone involved. That’s where I think it’s going to happen, both sides. For example, we are starting our own apprenticeship programme because we would like to grow our own people. It’s a combination of mechatronics, like mechanical and electronics and robotics.

You will need engineers with all of the skill sets and that doesn’t exist. So we have to create our own. That’ll be a common place going forward. It’s not just us. Probably everyone would jump in.

Tell us about your own personal learning

Right now, there is digital twin technology, like simulation, wherein you could simulate your entire facility scenario.

Discrete event simulation is another topic which could also be interesting for the future. The way I see it is we need to be curious. Use our downtimes to steer energy towards learning. It satisfies your curiosity and keeps you engaged in achieving new things.

Power BI was something that I learned as well as digital discrete event simulation using Simio, during the pandemic. I had four weeks of being stuck at home, so started with learning, adding discrete event simulation to my portfolio. So I rebuilt the entire plant in 3D. You could see objects going around, like toys, moving material, and you could see what’s happening.

Use your time that’s available to learn. Learning is a journey that I feel it will not end whilst I’m alive. And that’s my moral, to keep going and keep myself contributing to the world.

 

Where can we get in touch with you?

At www.hirschvogel.com you can see more about my company and about myself. You could follow me on Twitter @AThandapani, find me on LinkedIn, Arun Kumar Thandapani.


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Jumpstart your journey with our free Digital Transformation Starter Kit. Gain the insights to make smarter decisions and elevate your manufacturing process.