Sherman, William H. (1987, ASQC) Burtek Inc., Thomson Corp. Of America, Tulsa, OK
The majority of published material on quality today is aimed at the large manufacturing facility; that is, companies having 1,000 employees or more, where large quantities of a product are produced. For a small company, however, where the quantities of a particular product are less than a dozen, the traditional control charts for attributes and variables do not suffice. In some cases, the manufacturing facility may be involved in the high tech area and have a total work force of approximtely 250 employees. Burtek, a subsidiary of Thomson Corporation of America, is one such company that specializes in the high tech area of simulation.
At Burtek, where design and manufacture of flight simulators, armored vehicle driving simulators, maintenance trainers, and cockpit procedures trainers are done for a variety of customers, significant improvement in product quality has been achieved.
In the past three years, a plant-wide Quality Awareness Program, visible to all employees and visitors, has been implemented and maintained through innovtive systems involving all levels of management. Currently, our quality engineers gather and tabulate information from engineering, software development, purchasing, and accounting departments, while our quality inspectors are the source of information from within our manufacturing department. This paper reviews the relatively short history of this program from the time of its inception through its progressive growth into present day viability and future areas of expansion. By addressing the needs of a small company, this program, which can be adapted to fit the needs of other companies of similar size, has shown results not only in improved product quality, but also in the advancement of collective as well as individual feelings of achievement, and in continual quality awareness, a reciprocal benefit and goal.