By Jim Anderson
The test of the artist does not lie in the will with which he goes to work, but in the excellence of the work he produces. Thomas Aquinas
It’s important in your selection of suppliers that you understand their “testing philosophy” and how they use it to create value for you. Having been involved with manufacturing of assorted products over the years, I’ve witnessed many aspects of “in-process” testing and “final” testing. Since testing of any kind has a cost associated with it, there has to be a value in adding any test to a process. My present involvement is as a build-to-print manufacturer of wire/cable assemblies and harnesses and other electronic, electro-mechanical or electro-pneumatic sub-assemblies.
Here’s where we see the value of testing:
- In-Process testing helps your supplier keep process steps within control limits.
- In-process testing helps reduce costs by identifying problems at an early stage before more cost is added.
- In-process testing improves the probability the product will work at the final test stage.
- The tracking of any testing advances the quest for continuous improvement.
- Testing verifies the design and manufacturing process is in compliance with the intended goals of the product.
- Good testing practices prevent reworks at your site, or worse, recalls to your customers.
- Testing by your suppliers is important to safeguarding your brand name.
Here’s what we recommend you do to insure you are getting the full value of “testing” from your suppliers:
- At a minimum, get a full explanation of their test procedures. A site audit is the best method for insuring that what has been explained is actually in use.
- Get a good understanding of the metrics they maintain as a result of testing and how they use them in running their business.
- See how they apply the “rule of 10” in their business. Are they making the greatest testing investment at the earliest stage in the process?
The “Rule of 10” is the cost to find and repair a defect.
The part itself = X
At sub-assembly = 10X
At final assembly = 100X
At the dealer/distrbuton level = 1,000X
At the customer level = 10,000X
If dealers or distributors are not used that added cost is skipped.