Precision Aerospace Machining and the seven wastes of lean manufacturing (part 5)

The fifth of the seven wastes is the most readily obvious waste – defects.  A part or product that is not made correctly and needs to be either re-worked or discarded, is obviously a waste.  The time spent on the original part is wasted, the material and other costs are wasted, the time that it takes to re-work or re-make the part is wasted.  Overall defects cause considerable disruptions and waste.

Once again high volume work has an easier time of removing defects from the process.  the length of the run of a part will justify creating more complex and expensive fixturing to enable quality at the course – so that the part has little or no chance of being produced improperly.  Custom inspection procedures will allow quick discovery of any non-conforming parts as well.

In a low volume high mix facility – as a large portion of CNC Industries is, making custom machined parts and precision aerospace machined parts, we cannot spend an extensive amount of time on fixturing – our lead time for the entire first batch of product is sometimes shorter than production companies will spend on a single fixture for a production part.  The inspection requirements and quality standards will also vary – sometimes greatly – between parts running through our shop at the same time.  We have to ensure that each fixture is made quickly and still performs as it needs to.

Of course defects are caused by a myriad of issues beyond just the fixturing the part correctly.  We have many more methods of preventing mistakes and defects before they occur, but I think a more telling evaluation of a companies dedication to eliminating defects is the processes taken when a defect does occur.  At CNC Industries, we place great emphasis on root cause analysis and corrective / preventative actions.  As we are nearing our AS9100 certification, we are more aware of this need than ever before.

Our Corrective Action System is based on the Apollo Root Cause Analysis and allows and indefinite depth of root cause analysis.  We regard and defect as a serious issue and are quick to come to an understanding of the root cause that allowed the defect to occur.  With our ERP system, we are able to quickly resolve any ongoing systemic issue and immediately take the necessary corrective action to prevent future occurrences of the issue.  Preventative and corrective actions and their resolutions are transmitted throughout the company immediately upon completion and necessary procedural and process changes are automatically updated.  All relevant documentation is kept entirely in sync with our digital paperless document system.

The ability to adjust our entire process to address a deficiency in the processes that we utilize allows us to have an extremely low defect rate – and when the very occasional defect does occur we can quickly adapt and prevent the problem in the future.

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CNC Industries is a Fort Wayne, Indiana based machine shop specializing in precision CNC machining, fabrication and assembly of application-critical and custom machined parts for the Aerospace, Defense, Medical, Industrial and Transportation  markets.   The company presently employs approximately 55 people.

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