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What Others Are Saying

For an agency such as ours, that also conducts many training and development related activities, you helped us organize our thoughts in a manner that we could not have done on our own … we will be seeking your services again.

Director, Community Services, Mississippi Development Authority

*Note: our work is customized to each client's needs and specifications. These results are meant to provide examples of how we work with our clients and what they then achieve. They are not meant to display a "set" approach, nor do they detail all of the results achieved by this client.

Case Study

Automotive Supplier: the Defective Solenoid

This client had run many of its engineers, supervisors and key hourly workers through basic Trouble Shooting Logic workshops. One of their products was a solenoid used in a new, state-of-the-art automatic transmission. The solenoid was used to “soften the shift” between gears.

One of their customers was complaining about harsh shifts associated with this solenoid, caused by hysteresis. (Hysteresis is the cavitation of transmission fluid within the solenoid due to the erratic flow.) Prior to calling us, our client performed, at significant expense, 100% quality checks for about 8 weeks on the parts produced to weed out the defective ones. The rejected solenoids were totally scrap. Due to the method of production they could not be reworked, recycled or salvaged.

Long term, 100% inspection could not be the solution. Short term, they were running up against a hard roadblock. Their supplier of the machined solenoid housing was producing them 24 / 7. Yes, they were installing additional machining equipment in anticipation of significantly increased demand for this solenoid. Given that our client was rejecting a little over 20% of production in that 100% quality check, they would run out of solenoid housings in 5 weeks. The new machining equipment would not be in operation at the supplier’s facility for at least 14 weeks. Finding an additional supplier was not an option. Unless our customer could resolve this issue they would short ship solenoids to their client for at least 9 weeks, literally shutting down their transmission production. Not acceptable.

When the call came in to lead a Deviation Analysis (DA), several of us were on our way to deliver an outdoor challenge course training that was already scheduled. Our office reached an associate who was on his way to the challenge course and asked if he could “divert” to this client and run DA. The associate said, “Yes, but you have to confirm that it’ll be OK for me to show up in shorts and a “T” shirt.” (This challenge course was in the deep south, and it was late May.) This associate had worked with this client in the past and diverted to their location.

While in transit, our associate coordinated with the client to ensure that the right people would be available to start the DA in 3 hours (he was about 2 ¾ hours from this client’s location when the call came in). The analysis started at about 4:00 in the afternoon. By about 6:00 they had made it through the first cut of the DA. There were major areas where data was missing. Specific assignments were given to the participants to retrieve / generate information for the continuation of the DA the next morning at 06:30.

On day 2 of the analysis, they up-graded the Fact & Comparator information using the information gathered over night. They were able to rule out several possible causes. No one machine was to blame as roughly equal numbers of defective parts were produced on each of the 5 machines producing this solenoid. No individual or group of test stands could explain the deviation. At the end of day 2, additional assignments were given to gather more information. These assignments were primarily in the Timing and Life Cycle areas.

Day 3 started at 09:00. By 10:00 the Timing information was fleshed out. The Timing information showed clearly that the “flaw” was there from the beginning. This was a design problem, not a production problem! But why did it take so long to find this out? During the pre-production tests, the solenoids were 100% hot tested. The numbers of solenoids needed for pre-production was low. So the test technician sent only those solenoids which were good to the client. Not knowing that the rejects were scrap, this test technician sent them to re-work. Re-work knew they were scrap so they just threw them out. No record of these solenoids was kept in re-work.

While not what the client had hoped to hear, this analysis resulted in new pre-production standards, new accounting of scrap in re-work, re-design of the solenoid and close work with the client to allocate the available solenoids to the facility that needed them most. Fortunately, the customer had a relative “over stock” of the solenoids in one of their production facilities.

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