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Showcasing Our Critical to Quality Initiative to the Manufacturing Alliance

Meg Hanaman

In February, IWCO Direct hosted the Manufacturing Alliance Lean Enterprise Peer Group for a Critical-to-Quality (CTQ) event to showcase efforts we’ve made to ensure customer satisfaction. The Manufacturers Alliance is an association that provides a platform for manufacturers to come together for training, education, best practice sharing, and exchanging industry ideas. As part of our legacy direct mail business, IWCO Direct has been a member for many years, participating in numerous seminars and workshops.

The Lean Enterprise Peer Group focuses on building relationships with industry peers that foster improvement and growth. The group holds benchmarking tours of other leading manufacturing companies to discuss best practices and sensitive issues in an on-site confidential forum. In addition to the benchmarking tours, online forums provide opportunities to share tools, templates, and contacts across sites instantly.

IWCO Direct chose to present our CTQ Initiative to members of the Lean Enterprise Peer Group. Our CTQ Initiative was designed to ensure all process steps affecting the must-meet quality parameters and standards are performed correctly.

Lean enterprise peer groupThe IWCO Direct Continuous Improvement team designed the CTQ Initiative to center on how quality process steps ensure customer satisfaction. CTQ outputs are product or service characteristics that must be met in order to satisfy customer requirements or expectations. CTQs are specific and measurable. This ensures departments make business process improvements that are meaningful to our clients, and serves to improve client retention and satisfaction.

The event consisted of the IWCO Direct team presenting our CTQ Initiative and then a plant tour of our Chanhassen facilities. After the tours, we had a one-way feedback session in which our visitors (including Kirby Sneen, President of the Manufacturers Alliance) shared their thoughts on what they observed.

The group complimented us on our visual management system, which was a major focus for IWCO Direct operations in 2019. Other observations by the group included:

Lean Management System

  • They applauded our consistent leveraging of tools within the Lean management system— such as the accountability boards and countermeasure templates. They noted how the +QDIP boards were updated on a daily basis and that they provided visibility on performance to all shifts.
  • They liked how the TPM and Work Order boards were organized by machine type and that the set-up allowed for clarity on identified, active, and completed items.

Visual Management Tools and Floor Observations

  • Andon lights (a system to notify management, maintenance, and other staff of a quality or process problem) used at each machine/workstation enables leadership and support teams like technicians to quickly gauge which areas are running smoothly and which machines may need assistance or additional support.
  • Mobile QA carts enable efficiency for both the quality auditors and the operator, as the carts allow the auditor to perform their work at the machine, yet does not interfere with the operator’s workspace.
  • Visual quality aids illustrate both a “good” and “bad” or “acceptable” and “not acceptable” mailpiece.

Suggested Improvements to Our CTQ Initiative Included:

  • Reduce wasted motion by potential layout/equipment configuration changes, which supports our 2020 objective of deploying cell manufacturing concepts.
  • Enhance 5S, which they noted was a great way to get operators engaged and help further drive our Lean six sigma culture.

 We were excited about being able to host the Lean Enterprise Peer Group and are eager to dig deeper into the constructive feedback they shared about how we are implementing CTQ. Want to learn more about our approach to CI and CTQ? Contact me here.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2020/03/11/manufacturers-alliance-critical-to-quality-tour/
Meg Hanaman


Meg Hanaman

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