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Performance Intervention A Global Heavy Equipment Manufacturer Abstract A global off-highway, heavy equipment manufacturer was experiencing quality and delivery issues with a strategic group of suppliers. The assembly plants were experiencing daily disruptions of work flow, reworks, and customer warranty claims. TPS was contracted 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 throughout 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 needed 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, and solve).
  • Developed and implemented detailed plans specific to each supplier to assure improvements were made and then institutionalized.
  • Conducted on site training to upgrade the skills of the suppliers’ work force.
  • 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 client's S.Q. engineers were trained to continue the process with other suppliers. The manufacturer asked TPS to expand the process into other European countries.

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Performance Intervention A North American Powertrain Supplier Abstract A tier 1 automotive supply company was unable to consistently ship quality product which was causing line stoppages at several OEM transmission and engine plants. TPS was engaged by the OEM to oversee and manage supplier operations in order to eliminate these disruptions. As our engagement began we found there were a number of systemic problems needing to be diagnosed and corrected. Challenge The supplier had not demonstrated any ability to manage this situation. The roles and responsibilities of the different work groups on the plant floor were undefined. Tier two 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 additional plant disruptions with the supplied components. TPS led management changes, reconfigured the plant layout, error-proofed systems at supplier locations, and developed a proper quality metrics documentation system. Automated inspection equipment was brought back on line in the process and these devices inspected a variety of parts and part characteristics. Using these devices reduced material handling errors. 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. All employees were trained so they understood the new layout and new processes. Result TPS was able to generate 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. The supplier’s senior leaders supported the changes made in the plant 100%. Most importantly, there were no further quality or delivery disruptions in any of the client OEM's assembly locations.

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