Scrap and Rejects are Reducing Profitability

Many factors may play into your scrap nightmare: wrong or misread tolerances, incorrect materials, and in precise measurements. These non-conformance nightmares will cost you plenty. It’s the call from your customer, or the news from the shop floor no one wants to get: “The part doesn’t fit.” The amount of time and effort for a redo is a tremendous drain and distraction.

(This is Part 3 of a 5 Part series of posts on solving your toughest quality inspection challenges. Click here and get the entire 5-Part series packaged into a single white paper.)

A customer reject can cause unprecedented havoc, embarrassment, and serious delays. Plus the customer’s confidence in your processes may be questioned and can impact future business opportunities (via negative word of mouth impacting referrals), tarnish your repetition in the industry and impact repeat work from existing customers.

Scrap Touches Everything

Scrap touches all facets of design and manufacturing, so the effort to reduce scrap and rework must be as a company—wide effort. For a small or medium-size enterprise (SME), this may seem too costly and ambitious, but the alternative, doing nothing, is more expensive and time consuming. Here are some solutions that some companies are employing to reduce scrap and avoid rejections.

With the computer-based characteristic identification tool, it’s easy to establish the requirements during the early stages of the production life-cycle.  The leading aerospace suppliers organize and prioritize the requirements to electronically determine RFQ advantages and PO responses. In fact, a characteristic tool can show you if you missed any requirements, highlight specification innuendos and, overall, perform characteristic identification when you receive the RFQ or PO to help clarify customer requirements.

Capture the requirements up front in the process: A supplier located in the Phoenix area, now captures requirements for up-front quoting, so they can fully understand their customer’s requirements, and then they reuse the data — when they win the job — for the FAI. They have significantly reduced FAI preparation time, and are happy to report that their scrap was dramatically reduced as well as returns. This process improvement literally saves them millions of dollars.

Use the customers’ forms for internal analysis: Another supplier in New York, analyzes all of this data in his customer’s specific format, such as listing the upper and lower spec values. A software characteristic tool dramatically shows actuals that are close to out of tolerance, those which are key, and those that are out of tolerance.

Be proactive with upfront data analysis:  For one supplier, dimensional variation was an ongoing problem. For example, he found that the drill bits were sharper in the morning, than later in the day. An open door caused temperature fluctuations that triggered shrinking or expansion.

With a characteristic and measurement capturing tool, one that collects the discrete measurement data, he could identify the result value that was straying from the ideal tolerance and immediately check the tool and environment to correct the issue. This was performed before the part became a candidate for scrap or rejection, making adjustments earlier in the process. He found that being pro-active, earlier in the process, saved his company much time and improved their upfront processes.

As one supplier from Franklin, Ohio noted, “We use a tool that provides error proofing, and enforces correct ballooning practices, revision control and seamless integration with many of the systems used by aerospace primes”.

All the cited aerospace companies, from coast to coast, are using a tool for improved organizational performance. With this tool they can clearly, unambiguously, meet their customers’ needs while reducing scrap and rejections. Most are saving between 60 to 70% of the time they normally took in creating each FAI report. They are saving millions by reducing their scrap room and dramatically eliminating rejects.

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