A Quality Management Case Study Defects

Quality Control is developing evaluation schemes to ensure products are designed and produced to meet or exceed customer requirements. Any unit of production not meeting the standard is immediately eliminated. Researchers apply the Pareto principle implying that very few quality defects account for the larger quality losses. Pareto diagrams allow us to separate vital few factors that cause majority defects from the less contributing factors. Resources are then used to correct these factors and optimum quality standard is achieved.

This study examines for defects found during final inspection of printed circuit before they are integrated into the next higher assembly. Manufacturing process followed standards such as MIL-Q. It’s a standard written by the government used even by commercial enterprises. Whenever we have a defect cited, a discrepancy report (DR) is generated. The DR record keeps track of when what defect was detected by whom and where. It also stores information about what action was taken to restore quality unit. Defects are classified as types (In this study, there are 31).

These broad categories are further sub categorized. In nutshell, this effort of planning quality is the essence is Quality Assurance. Using the online DR system, Managers analyze defects. First, Managers find out the correlation between inspections and defects. Pearson’s coefficient is a valuable indicator of that. Secondly, Managers analyze the ratio of defects to no. of inspections per week. To crack the whip on detailed data of actual defects, Pareto analysis (Quality Control measure) is performed.

Significantly, it shows percentage of defects caused by the key defect types. Working groups are formed to drill down on the last few vital factors to suggest corrective actions and completely eliminate defects. New drawings, procedures are designed and applied to achieve highest quality. During the highest problem period in this study, no. of inspections went down drastically. One reason could be that the work completed was less (because of more defects) and so the number of inspections went down.

But the repaired boards needed to be inspected. Inexperienced operators could be the other reason. This leaves a lot of work yet to be done in this field. This study however does benefit quality management efforts. Although, this case is specific to the airline industry, the approaches described here can be usefully applied to any project. Maintaining quality is a very crucial task and any project management must seriously focus on it. Harvard Business Review