How Auto Manufacturers Benefit From OnSite Services
Car manufacturers need help
In our last post, we discussed the benefits of Buzz, Squeak and Rattle (BSR) testing for auto manufacturers. The value that is created through these tests is fewer downstream costs and inefficiencies and improved customer satisfaction that results in higher consumer ratings. But BSR testing is really just one component of an entire slate of quality services that can help original equipment manufacturers and suppliers improve their operations and products.
How OnSite Services improves quality
As Steve Miaskowski, manager of OnSite Services at TUV SUD America, pointed out, when you bring in an outside technical services provider to perform BSR testing, you’ll also have the expertise on hand to foster end-to-end process improvement.
“It’s really a quality process. It could be done in house, but an independent auditor is less influenced by the political and financial realities of the business than internal stakeholders,” Miaskowski said. “We bring a new viewpoint to every job. We can find issues with parts, design and even suppliers and then propose solutions and corrective actions.”
Miaskowski added that it’s important for auditors to help OEMs find issues and suggest improvements, but it’s not about pointing fingers. Everything is geared toward improving process and product quality. Moreover, a technical services provider goes far beyond basic auditing:
“It’s not just doing an audit and leaving,” Miaskowski said. “We find what can be improved and then we actually stay and help OEMs through the improvements.”
Ultimately, however, it’s up to the OEM to stay the course in terms of using the new process created through the quality improvement and auditing stages. The tendency to revert to old habits can set in for even the most savvy OEMs, which is why continual improvement is another key commitment.
Ensuring continual improvements
As a simplified example of the importance of continual improvement, consider a metric like a defect or error rate. If a production run of 1,000 parts turns up 100 defects, quality improvements may bring that number down to 50. But if proper controls haven’t been put in place to sustain that, the OEM will likely see the error rate climb back up to the initial level.
“The question is, ‘why isn’t the improvement sustainable?’” Miaskowski said. “Manufacturing variability has a big impact on day to day operations and it’s on the OEM to be able to audit there product daily. The pure volume of cars being built makes it difficult to audit and maintain quality. You need to follow a process that not only fixes one error, but it fixes all the errors."
Making a commitment to continual improvement is an investment that pays itself off in averted downstream costs: Fewer recalls and repair jobs for dealers, avoidance of fines for noncompliance and higher consumer ratings that lead to increased sales.