Eliminating Rework to Optimize Engineering Operations

The Challenge:

The organization experienced significant growth in recent years and was having a difficult time maintaining product quality. The rate at which quality defects were generated had increased by 250% over the previous three years. Furthermore, the backlog of unresolved quality defects had grown by 370% over the same three year period. In light of a perceived declining quality focus within the organization, Carpedia was invited to perform an opportunity analysis on the Alcatel approach to maintaining product quality.

The analysis confirmed that there existed a perception throughout the organization that schedule and cost requirements overtake quality requirements when issues must be prioritized.

The organization seemed to rely on the Quality Assurance department to ensure product was meeting quality requirements. Detailed studies revealed that 88% of time within Quality Assurance was being spent on quality control and non-value added activities, essentially catching errors at the end of the process. This gap between quality control and assurance led to limited proactive problem solving within the department and thus limited quality improvement throughout the organization. Time needed to be recaptured within the department to redirect towards proactive quality assurance activities. These activities would address the root causes of quality defects and reduce the resulting cost overruns.

The Results:

  • Based on these challenges, Carpedia was enlisted to assist the Alcatel management team with reversing the trend of quality defects. Through improvements in processes, systems and behaviors, the total return on investment targeted was 260%.
  • The project realized a return on investment of 370% exceeding the target.
  • Reduced the rate at which quality defects were being generated by 15% across projects by implementing preventative process changes to improve requirement development and management, the leading contributor to defects throughout the project lifecycle.
  • Reduced the backlog of unresolved quality defects by 8% with the implementation of a more rigorous approach to defect analysis whereby trends in poor quality are analyzed as a whole as opposed to on a case by case basis.
  • Improved project quality awareness with the development of a concise set of historically benchmarked metrics from which to judge individual project quality performance at various stages of their lifecycle. The metrics enabled a more focused and productive monthly follow-up on the key drivers of quality.
  • Reduced overall non-value added time in the Quality Assurance department by 20%. The available resources in these areas were redirected towards quality assurance activities including pointed metric analysis and the development of improvement initiatives to prevent more costly quality issues later in the project lifecycle.
  • Trained a sustainability manager and developed detailed audit materials and schedules to ensure that all changes are sustained in the future.

The Client Experience:

“The project has been carried out in a very professional and collaborative manner by Carpedia. Your team was attentive to our needs and basically integrated themselves seamlessly into the Alcatel team.”

Vice President, Alcatel Canada Inc.

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