Quality professionals have long known that compliance to QMS requirements is paramount to achieving performance goals, but a new study has confirmed it.
The Automotive Industry Action Group’s (AIAG) new “Quality 2020” study reveals that original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and suppliers rank complex and redundant QMS requirements among the top three most critical issues affecting quality. The other two top concerns are problem solving and customer service requirements.
In the report, OEMs and suppliers agreed that QMS requirements compliance is important because it affects their ability to standardize business processes and systems. The capacity to standardize, respondents say, also affects their operational efficiencies, relationships, and ability to respond to quality-related events.
The survey upon which the study is based was conducted by the AIAG in collaboration with Deloitte Consulting LLP.
Quality 2020 uses the survey data to identify needed improvements with the goal of putting them in place by 2017 and then measuring the results of this industrywide quality initiative by 2020. The report illuminates where the industry needs to take action and calls on automotive companies to get engaged and commit resources to address the concerns.
Some interesting statistics emerged from the Quality 2020 study regarding QMS requirements, including:
- On a per-site average, respondents invest 116 workdays annually to comply with QMS requirements.
- Remarkably, respondents forecast at least a 40 percent reduction in this investment if complexity and redundancy were reduced even slightly.
- On average, respondents spend more than $100,000 annually per site to comply with QMS requirements, and project savings of nearly $50,000 per site if complexity and redundancy are reduced.
However, despite the opportunity to reduce cost and improve efficiency, respondents overwhelmingly believe it would take a significant effort to change current QMS standards. Respondents say that such an effort should include:
- Reducing technical specification (TS) requirements to only those elements with direct effect on product quality and reliability
- Determining audit schedules based on performance
- Combining TS and VDA requirements
Bill Hurles, who serves as director of General Motors’ supply chain and leads the global operations of 69 assembly plants and 90 component/stamping/powertrain plants, says the potential savings gained by reducing QMS requirements complexity and redundancy is probably even greater than the estimate in the Quality 2020 study.
As for the perceived resistance to change cited in the study results, Hurles believes it would be possible to reduce the resistance by getting suppliers and OEMs together to define common ground by reviewing the specific requirements that exist today, and then tackling the easiest first and expanding from there.
“I think there’s more common ground than we might expect,” Hurles says, adding that any potential resistance to the effort would be less about resistance to support commonization and more “the result of a lack of process to reduce the variation.”
Furthermore, respondents are closely aligned on their top three concerns if no changes are made to QMS requirements, which include the need to maintain multiple systems to satisfy multiple standards, a continued increase in the number of OEM- and Tier One-specific requirements, and continued incidents of poor correlation between certification status and actual performance.
“Anything we can do to improve the efficiency of the QMS gives us more time to focus on the up front—whether that be product development or up-front quality activities—rather than the reactive work that we do in quality management systems today,” says David Kneisler, vice president, global quality for Dana Holding Corp. and chairman of the AIAG board of directors. “It’s not about decreasing our quality resources—it’s about redeploying them to the areas where they can be more effective.”