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MANUFACTURING EXECUTION SYSTEMS: Closed-Loop Corrective Action Functions Help Improve Quality and Reduce Costs for Manufacturing Sites

By Konnie E. Steele and Donald S. Holmes

Introduction:

Closed-loop corrective action functionality is an integral part of all effective MES systems. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate improvements gained and cost reductions in a mfg. site using a closed-loop corrective action system. By closed loop corrective action we mean a management procedure which insures resolution of a nonconformance corrective action requests. Corrective Action requests may originate from customer complaints, internal complaints or from vendor issues. The corrective action process includes the disposition of materials, root cause analysis, the corrective action taken as a result of the request, and the verification over a long term that the corrective action had the desired effect. An example of an actual implementation of a corrective action system in a box manufacturing plant is included in the paper.

Box Plant Case Study:

Implementation of a corrective action system in a box manufacturing plant, with annual sales of approximately 75 million dollars, demonstrated significant improvement over the course of 1 year. The following table summarizes the results of utilization of a closed-loop corrective action system in the plant.

Year 1
Year 2
Improvement
% Improvement
Number of Customer Complaints
62
45
17
down 27 %
Cost of Quality for Customer Complaints
$19,455
$17,023
$2,432
down 12.5%
Number of Internal Complaints
456
454
2
down .04%
Cost of Quality for Internal Complaints
$326,794
$100,407
$226,387
down 69.3%
Number of Raw Material Complaints
380
372
8
down 2%
Cost of Quality for Raw Material Complaints
$644,334
$264,306
$308,030
down 58.9%
Perfect Order Rate (%Delivery/Service)
99.28%
99.82%
54%
down .5%
% Product Quality
96.75%
97.12%
.37%
up .4%
Waste
11%
10.5%
.5%
down 4.5%
Productivity
93%
96%
3%
up 3%
Process Reliability
83%
87%
2.9%
up 17%

QAR Initiation:

The QAR Initiation identifies the Nonconformance being reported in the QAR system. The Initiator must select the QAR Type (In-Process, Customer Feedback, etc.) and other information that has been defined to be tracked. The Nonconformance, Apparent Cause, and the Immediate Action are selected from predefined pick-lists. Each QAR is assigned a sequential tracking number in the database. All QARs remain on the Initiator's and System Administrator's work queues until the System Administrator has closed out the problem.

Administrator Selects Notifier and 'Information Only' Participants or Rejects the New QAR:

When a new QAR appears in the System Administrator's work queue, he/she must decide if the QAR is valid, and if so, the Notifier and the Information Only participants must be selected. If the QAR is not worthy of the closed-loop process, the administrator can reject it.

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