Manual Manufacturing and Assembly
We take time to ensure the product is able to be built consistently. We do our best to make the manual work as infrequent as possible and where we are unable to eliminate manual work, we design the product in ways to ensure a repeatable and reliable outcome from the work. For example, we need an LED to have a certain defined distance from the printed circuit board to allow the LED to protrude just right through the enclosure lid. To get that defined stand off, we use…a……standoff. The problem comes when that effort does not produce the results we wish.
Error in Manufacturing
In this case the first production run produces the product with this installed spacer in the desired way that meets the fit needs. The problem comes when the next batch is run on the manufacturing line. The errors that came from the first batch production run, were not found in the first iteration. However, in this batch, what once worked, does not, resulting in the a product that left without correction, would sound like a maraca. The LED was supposed to be pushed down, the electrical connections going through the board until the bottom of the LED, fits snug against the top of the spacer. This guarantees the lid of the product attaches to the box, while allowing the LED to protrude through the enclosure to provide the user with feedback (LED has green and red elements).
Sort of makes you think “how well was the explanation of the reason for the standoff, and training as to how to assemble the product. The customer was wondering about whether they should just correct the problem, but make known to the supplier that the problem occurred. Another option, is to send the product back to the supplier for them to see the failure and come up with corrective actions to eliminate this failure from future shipments.
This is an opportunity for the manufacturing organization to learn, and simply telling the supplying manufacturer is not really much of an opportunity for learning. Sending the parts back, allows the supplier to explore the part, and the way the part went through the manufacturing line, with special attention to the area wherein the defect was introduced, the manual work area. This is not about punishment, it is about learning from the error, understanding the importance of this seemingly trivial attribute of the product.
Tags: APQP, Design for Manufacture, learning, manufacturing, Quality