Total Quality Control in Small Manufacturing Firms

Article

Raghavachari, M.; Simons, Gene R.   (1991, ASQC)   Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY

Annual Quality Congress, Milwaukee WI    Vol. 45    No. 0
QICID: 9625    May 1991    pp. 908-913
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Article Abstract

The past decade has seen parts and fabrication work shift from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to small manufacturing companies. This paper discusses the problems that result from this trend in outsourcing, the impact on competitiveness, and the role of Manufacturing Technology Centers (MTCs) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Northeast Manufacturing Technology Center (NEMTC) in transferring advanced manufacturing technologies to small manufacturers.

The NEMTC served 150 small manufacturers during the first 20 months; over half of these small manufacturers were suppliers to large OEMs who were interested in developing domestic suppliers who could meet their quality and service requirements. Because small firms have a limited understanding of total quality control, NEMTC developed partnerships with community colleges to offer training programs for management and workers of small firms.

The MTCs assisted small companies in assessing the state of their business. Companies learned to use a self-assessment tool kit, which is a good way to identify problem areas; however, because self-assessments are subjective, they are generally not as effective as an on-site assessments.

The NEMTC Assessment Instrument Development (NAID) program developed a cost-effective process that helped small manufacturers identify technical and business needs and provided assistance in making improvements. The Quality Assurance Self-Assessment Instrument (QUASI), a component of NAID, helped small manufacturers identify TQM needs.

Keywords

Case study,Competitiveness,Manufacturing,NEMTC Assessment Instrument Development (NAID),Northeast Manufacturing Technology Center (NEMTC),Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,Total Quality Management (TQM)


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