Goeller, William D. (1986, ASQC) LTV Aerospace & Defense Co., Dallas, TX
Quality Management has often fallen into the trap of using inspection in an attempt to improve product quality. Inspection has been inserted at the end of each manufacturing operation. We inspect after the part is formed or machined, then again after each process. We make sure the parts are painted and kitted properly. Then, as the parts are assembled, we inspect to assure each part is properly located in its jig. For many parts, this amounts to multiple inspections of the same part. It goes far beyond product appraisal, into an attempt to cure quality problems through inspection at each operation.Several years ago, a program was initiated to systematically reduce and eliminate inspection duplications. The criteria for reduction was to appraise the product only once, unless the part contained critical characteristics. The inspections were deferred downstream to the locating tool in the assembly area where an inspection is required to assess fit. The detail shops that fabricated the parts accepted the inspection of the hardware produced. The savings in inspection time were significant; as much as one-third in some areas.There were lessons learned that could make the change easier. Some of the detractors were from surprising sources. Corrective action investigation became more difficult in a few cases because of the elapsed time between fabrication and defect detection. Later data indicates this was more of an emotional issue than an issue of fact. First article inspection took on a new significance for the fabrication and tooling personnel.In addition to the cost savings in the Inspection and Test Department, some other positive things occurred that overshadowed even the quality dollars saved. This paper will show the cost savings to the Quality Organization, discuss lessons learned, provide before and after quality measurement, and discuss the peripheral positive changes that occurred within the organization.
Aerospace industry,Department of Defense (DOD)