Reducing Paperwork by Implementing Teamwork


Enos, Lesley   (1991, ASQC)   Alpha Industries, Woburn, MA

Annual Quality Congress, Milwaukee WI    Vol. 45    No. 0
QICID: 9649    May 1991    pp. 230-236
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Article Abstract

Alpha Industries, a world leader in semiconductors used in Microwave applications, sought a way to reduce paperwork, reduce common cause variation, improve customer satisfaction by correcting discrepancies and eliminating returns, and reduce inventory by improving their Raw Material Inventory Control system.

The methods used by process action teams employed basic tools of statistical problem solving and Statistical Based Management, an eight stage format of continuous improvement. The tools include brainstorming, flow charts, cause and effect diagrams, and data collection techniques. The eight stages of continuous improvement are:

  1. State the problem, define the goal;
  2. Describe the problem;
  3. Decide if the system is capable;
  4. Theorize for improvement;
  5. Make a plan, set milestones and clearly defined goals, and select a critical parameter to monitor;
  6. Get support from all who will be using the new system;
  7. Monitor the data; and
  8. Continuous improvement, starting at step one again and using the data for improvement.
The teams were successful in bringing returns to consistent and predictable levels. In an effort to further reduce the number of returns, each product line formed individual return teams. The teams performed weekly analysis of all reasons for returns, and in-line scrap and rework were put in place to reduce common causes of variation. Problems with the raw material ordering system were reduced significantly by improving communication between the buyer and the production planner.


Documentation,Alpha Industries,Case study,Continuous improvement (CI),Electronics industry,Semiconductor industry,Statistics,Teams

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