1994-03-01

Development of a Fast Pace Continuous Quality Improvement Culture 940889

As we approach the year 2000, it is not going to be possible for automotive suppliers to survive by just improving. The OEM focus during the 80's have forced most suppliers to take action in their companies which has resulted in some quality improvements. However, during the 90's, in order to be world leaders, the supplier must improve at the maximum rate of improvement. Both OEM and supplier companies are not able to do this due to significant barriers and obstacles which must be overcome. The solution is development of a fast pace continuous quality improvement culture.Zexel-Gleason, Inc. encountered barriers such as functional, educational, business as usual, lack of customer driven focus, and personality conflicts. With management's leadership/involvement and pull through employee participation, a fast pace continuous quality improvement culture has evolved. The results (which include a flexible empowered organization where product cost has been reduced by over 40% and where design-proto-test lead time has been reduced by over 300%) have been outstanding. These improvements have clearly been noted by the customers as competitive edge over Zexel-Gleason's competition.In this paper, for the first time, the author will share the lessons learned, during his professional career, to encourage the industry to speed up the rate of improvement and propose his ten ( 10 ) Keys (success factors) which he recommends for successfully implanting a Fast Pace Continuous Quality Improvement Culture.

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