Process Improvement - A Giant Step in Total Quality


Evans, Jerry L.; Gizzi, Leo R.   (1993, ASQC)   Hercules; Radford, VA

Annual Quality Congress, Boston MA    Vol. 47    No. 0
QICID: 10019    May 1993    pp. 652-658
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Article Abstract

Statistical process control and a culture change from defect detection to defect prevention can improve manufacturing processes. This has occurred as part of the total quality management program at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant (RAAP), which is operated by Hercules Incorporated. At RAAP, quality engineers employed process review and analysis to define manufacturing processes. Using Pareto charting on a product by product and process by process basis, teams selected specific characteristics for capability studies. Then, operator responsibility was implemented. One example of a product that went through this quality improvement process was a small practice anti-tank rocket. Teams identified a problem with its performance characteristics; calculated dimensions of the product that were necessary to meet adequate performance; used statistical analysis to determine the role of solvent on these dimensions; and implemented corrective action based on control chart analyses. Through steps like these, RAAP has reduced its scrap and rework from about 10% to 2%. Annual savings in operating costs have been in the millions during the past five years. Process improvement plays a significant role, if not the major role, in achieving total quality.


Case study,Cultural change,Defects,Total Quality Management (TQM),Process improvement,Rework,Statistical process control (SPC),Department of Defense (DOD)

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