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Performance Intervention A Global Heavy Equipment Manufacturer Abstract A global off-highway, heavy equipment manufacturer was experiencing quality and supply issues with a strategic group of Italian suppliers. The assembly plants were experiencing daily disruptions of work flow, reworks, and customer warranty claims. TPS was employed to engage this group of suppliers, stop the flow of defects, coach a zero defect mentality, train the suppliers in quality management, and drive improvement thru-out the process. Challenge

  • The manufacturer was under increasing pressure from their competitors to improve quality.
  • The suppliers in question were strategic and could not be exited.
  • The culture of the supply base was not metric driven and, in fact, was based on legacy and politics.
  • The industry was not familiar with many of the quality management principles, nor the lean tools to support them.
  • The industry was recovering from a severe recession and there was little willingness to spend money on human or physical improvements.


  • Developed and implemented a comprehensive improvement process divided into three distinct phases (contain, drive back, solve).
  • Developed and implemented detailed plans, tailored to individual suppliers, to assure improvements were institutionalized.
  • Conducted on site training to upgrade the skills of the suppliers’ management and their workforce.
  • Developed metrics and met with purchasing and manufacturing to assure the improvements were reaching the bottom line.

Result Disruptions, incidents, and PPM were all reduced by over 50% in the first 6 months. The engineers were trained to continue the process with other suppliers. The manufacturer asked TPS to expand the process into other European countries.


Performance Intervention A North American Automotive Manufacturer Abstract A major North American Vehicle Manufacturer, in the midst of launching a new vehicle in the U.S., was severely constrained by one of their interior trim suppliers. Part shipments were late, or insufficient quantities were shipped, part quality was comprised, and vehicle production schedules were negatively impacted. TPS was engaged to lead a collaborative effort with the Vehicle Manufacturer and the Supplier to establish a recovery plan for the 54 part numbers at risk. Challenge

  • The Vehicle Program was in the acceleration phase with ever increasing production rates.
  • The Supplier was the only manufacturer in North America capable of producing these parts.
  • Key components / raw material were not ordered in sufficient quantities to support production.
  • Many of the Supplier’s Process Engineers, Product Engineers, and Maintenance personnel had little to no experience with the manufacturing process required to produce the parts.
  • The Supplier’s leadership was reluctant to make the difficult decisions required to increase throughput, decrease scrap and downtime, and improve quality.


  • Developed and implemented a comprehensive analysis and ordering methodology for all key components / raw materials.
  • Developed and implemented a comprehensive Production Scheduling process.
  • Conducted on site workshops to analyze and correct part manufacturing deficiencies.

Result Key component / raw material shortages were eliminated within the 3 weeks of implementation of the improved scheduling / ordering methodology; New Production Scheduling process eliminated part shortages and vehicle production losses to the vehicle assembly plant within 2 weeks of implementation, within 4 weeks 85% of all parts had at least 1 week of inventory, and within 6 weeks all past due service part orders were completed.


Performance Intervention A Department of Defense Manufacturing Company Abstract A global defense contractor faced increasing supply demands that exposed the weakness of their quality system resulting in escalating internal and external rejects, missed shipments, and loss of customer confidence. Challenge

  • Stop flow of sub-standard product.
  • Control shipping to insure suspect product does not get to the customer. Control manufacturing operations to insure suspect product does not advance in the process.
  • Identify, contain, and improve suppliers impacting manufacturing process.
  • Eliminate process deficiencies creating non-conformances and constraining product flow.


  • Clarify and communicate product standards to suppliers, manufacturing, and customers. Visually display standards in key inspection areas.
  • Implement lean strategies such as, one piece flow, build in station, error-proofing, and Andon (operation support).
  • Prioritize and track improvement projects (Master Dot) aimed at quality and productivity improvements.

Result Customer rejects were reduced from 5% to less than .1%. Internal rejects were reduced from 22% to less than 2%. On time shipments were increased to 100%, and production was reduced from 7 days to 5 days. Manufacturing costs were reduced by 40%.


Performance Intervention A North American Powertrain Supplier Abstract A multimillion-dollar manufacturing company was unable to ship quality product causing temporary shutdowns at several OEM transmission and engine plants. TPS was engaged to manage operations in order to eliminate the disruptions, diagnose systemic problems, implement corrective actions, and introduce measures to verify we had made sustainable improvement. Challenge The supplier had not demonstrated any ability to manage this situation. The lines showing areas of management responsibility were not defined. Value-add suppliers in the product chain had been given unclear deliverables and were not producing parts to specification. TPS's overarching goal was to resolve the current problems and develop revised quality and production processes that would error-proof all systems in the supply chain going forward. Execution TPS developed an interim product containment process for the supplier to ensure the OEM did not experience plant interruptions with the associated components. TPS led management changes, reconfigured the plant layout, error-proofed systems at supplier locations, and developed a proper quality metrics documentation system. Automated machines were revitalized to inspect a variety of parts and part characteristics, reducing material handling and associated manual labor. Lean techniques were introduced to revise the current production traceability system and to eliminate stages in material flow. Enhancements and modifications were made to stabilize all existing plant processes and procedures, eliminating potential risks, and new and current employees were trained to adhere to each discipline. Result The project was completed with significant improvements in the supplier's quality, production, and material systems. New and existing plant leaders were mentored to adhere and sustain the developed plant production and quality system. Most important, there were no further supplier disruptions to schedule in any of the client OEM's assembly locations.


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