The manufacturing industry demands high standards, but the companies that achieve them surpass the competition.
Six Sigma, is based on the statistical calculation that if the standard set for passing a quality control test were set to 6σ (σ being the mathematical sign for a single standard deviation) from the mean, then 99.99966% of outputs would be free from defects.
Six Sigma works because it is founded on several core principles. First, that manufacturing businesses have quantifiable practices, and that it is within the company’s ability to control and improve them. Second, that quality can only be maintained through continuous improvement. And third, that achieving these standards can only be done through a buy-in from the entire organization, with top-level leadership playing a crucial role. Without these core tenets in place, Six Sigma standards become unattainable.
Eagle not only believes in the philosophy behind Six Sigma, we have also incorporated its practices into our manufacturing process. Here’s how.
1. Decisions based on data: Big Data analytics and Advanced Testing
Without the ability to measure processes, there would be no basis to form Six Sigma calculations. Any attempt to quantify improvement needs data that can be collected, stored, and analyzed. Our systems incorporate advanced sensors and inspection equipment, from high-tech cameras that can visually inspect components, to custom equipment that can test for leaks, and tools that can measure the power produced by an electric component or the NVH of a mechanical one such as a transfer case or transmission.
These testing procedures can be incorporated as in-line production checks, or end-of-line quality controls. Our customers can then track variation in production outputs, nipping a problem in the bud should any variation exceed the Six Sigma standard. Because the median quality of a product is so exceptionally high, manufacturers should expect that even the “Worst of the Worst” of their product outputs is still of high enough quality to pass control standards.
The equipment we design is diverse, so we spend extra time on the front end understanding each customer’s expectations. A machine can be problematic if it is too imprecise, or too precise. Our modeling and dimensioning techniques are driven by the level of precision required to achieve our customer’s end goal. The discovery path we follow is a “one size fits all” method, but our end results are unique each time.
Eagle also employs a dedicated CMM operator who is tasked with verifying all the parts we manufacture. Our operator ensures that we only deliver equipment to our customers that can pass Six Sigma standards, as required. Once we have delivered our equipment, we also run correlation studies by testing production outputs at each manufacturing station and measuring them against the results we achieved in our own factory environments. By measuring the outputs against each other, we can demonstrate that all outputs achieve equivalent quality goals.
2. Continuous improvement: IIoT delivering dynamic feedback and regular “lessons learned” sessions.
Maintaining Six Sigma standards doesn’t happen without a consistent focus on product quality. The moment manufacturers begin to take their quality for granted is the moment it begins to slip. Complaisance is the destroyer of excellence.
On the production side of the equation, IIoT monitored devices help manufacturers design a process that delivers continuous production feedback to a centralized console. This makes it easier for operators to monitor the manufacturing system and halt production should sensors detect any errors that occur. IIoT unifies factory feedback, making it possible for machines to communicate with each other as well. As a result, controllers can harden their control processes, making them more fail-safe. Our Eagle Smart Machine package incorporates visualizations, text messages, and email notifications to quality departments and line leaders.
As an organization, we also run regular “lessons learned” sessions at the end of each project. Following this process helps us identify which organizational practices went well—and should, therefore, be reinforced—and which were flawed or counterproductive. By making this a regular part of our projects, we demonstrate a commitment to listening to our team, and incorporating their feedback into our work model.
3. Full organizational buy-in: Kaizen events and a commitment to quality from apprentices to leadership.
Our “lessons learned” sessions are also part of our full organizational commitment to production quality. Our leadership team understands that we must be first in showing our team that quality matters. We further reinforce this message through Kaizen events, which are held every two weeks, and are an opportunity for our team to identify areas for process improvement and take measurable steps toward achieving them.
Every aspect of our organization depends on each member being aligned with these core values. In fact, our desire for organizational alignment is one of the motivators behind our apprenticeship program. For decades, we have trained the next generation of manufacturing technicians to become skilled operators in our industry. By developing an appreciation for quality control standards from the beginning of our training curriculum, we ensure that every member of our organization shares the same commitment to quality.
Jim Kollath, Mechanical Engineering Manager at Eagle
Six Sigma standards ensure product quality, reducing costs, and boosting brand trust.
At Eagle, we understand that our customers depend on us to achieve Six Sigma results. If our equipment doesn’t perform at that level, then it will directly affect their production quality. And when production quality slips, it leads to added costs and a loss of brand trust. Manufacturers who put in the hard work up-front to deliver high-quality products reap rewards long-term by eliminating expensive product recalls and cultivating brand loyalty.
This is why we have worked so hard to deliver not just quality machinery, but the advanced testing controls your company needs to measure outputs against design standards. We believe that only by practicing these quality controls ourselves can we achieve them for our customers. That’s the commitment Eagle makes, and we’re proud to say we deliver.
Brandon Fuller, Eagle Technologies
Eagle Technologies, headquarters in Bridgman, MI