It goes without saying that every manufacturer wants to ensure they are assembling a quality product. Standards and specifications from various organizations provide a guideline from which manufacturers can measure different aspects of quality, while also providing the customer with the reassurance that they are purchasing a trustworthy, long-lasting product.
Over the years, just about all organizations have adopted a continuous improvement program, many based on lean principles. But there’s a key question that often never gets asked: How does a company know where to improve next?
Whenever anyone mentions hybrid-electric vehicles today, most people automatically think of cars, buses and trucks. But, up in the sky, the technology is also getting a lot of attention from aerospace engineers. That’s because electric systems are greener, lighter, quieter and more energy-efficient than traditional alternatives.
Comparative claims can be positive or negative, subjective or objective. But, in every instance, their main purpose is illustrative. A common example is when someone claims that a person or process is “as slow as molasses” (which, by the way, has a viscosity of only 5,000 to 10,000 centipoise [cps]).
The need to reduce vehicle weight has spawned myriad new technologies for assembling aluminum, high-strength steel and other materials. These new technologies include self-piercing rivets, flow-drilling screws and friction-stir spot welding.
If you can’t see it, you can’t measure it, and if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it! This is the simple mantra of successful manufacturers the world over. Manufacturing excellence can only come from manufacturing visibility.
Among Forrest Gump’s greatest life lessons was the insight that you could never be certain what you would find inside a box of chocolates. Although Gump never actually clarified what that uncertainty is, it’s generally assumed he was referring to the various types of fillings hidden in chocolate candies.