Posted by William Mullane | October 27, 2016
Project Area: Operational excellence
QTI Sensing Solutions operates assembly facilities in Nampa, Idaho and Tecate, Mexico. The company runs a fabrication site, test lab and HQ in Boise, Idaho. QTI was founded in 1977 as Quality Thermistor, Inc., to meet the increasing demand for high quality temperature sensors for the aerospace industry. Today, QTI Sensing Solutions continues to maintain its leadership position for mission-critical applications as well as for medical and industrial applications by supplying the world’s top companies with innovative products and services. QTI’s ISO:09001:2000 and AS9100 certified manufacturing and testing facilities enhance the company’s ability to meet the needs of today’s challenging temperature measurement and control applications.
QTI is committed to being an industry leader in terms of products, product quality and production efficiency. As the economy improved and production increased, QTI managers saw an opportunity to gain better control over production processes and quality. The company initially produced small lot sizes of 50-100 pieces per week with a 6-8 week lead time. Production workers and managers had come to accept the 55
Gallon drums on the factory floor that filled every other week with rejected parts. Increased production also forced QTI to bring in new employees and put them to work quickly with limited training and production support. English was a second language for some new employees who struggled to learn processes in the plant’s non-visual environment. QTI had explored Lean
Manufacturing with TechHelp around 2002 and had adopted some of the principles of Lean. This Lean background was the backbone behind the Nampa operation, but QTI managers wanted to introduce it to newer employees and emphasize the statistical rigors of Six Sigma. A team of three QTI managers enrolled in TechHelp’s new Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Course (LSS) in October of 2015.
As members of TechHelp’s Public LSS Course, QTI’smanagement team joined classmates for four full-day training sessions with three weeks between sessions to complete in-plant project work that is a key part of the program. The QTI managers wanted to take LSS into the workplace and set an example that leadership was serious about building quality into the system. QTI’s initial LSS project drastically improved the company’s ultrasonic welding process by increasing weld strength, reducing downtime by 5.5hrs/week and increasing throughput by 20%This initial success led QTI to take ownership of its Lean Six Sigma process by purchasing a LSS simulation kit from TechHelp and having QTI leaders become QTI initial Lean trainers. QTI continues to send key personnel to TechHelp LSS Green Belt Certification Courses and consults with local TechHelp specialists as needed. When staff experienced difficulty digesting a visual depiction of a QTI process, managers scheduled a training session and produced a cake with the process printed in the frosting. The team drooled over the new depiction of the process and digested it fully proving that you can have your quality and eat it too!