What Does 2019 Hold For You?

2018 was a good year for The Luminous Group and many of our clients.  Internally, we’ve updated some of our training materials because we want your team and company to perform better than ever.

2019 could be a very challenging year. We’re due for a downturn in the economy, as we can see in the recent pull-back in the stock market. The warnings are clear and present. Ford and General Motors have announced extensive corporate restructuring resulting in layoffs of tens of thousands of employees. Will the impact to engineering and manufacturing businesses be as extensive as it was in 2008?

If I have your attention, you understand this is the time to act to mitigate risks of business loss and leverage opportunities to improve your processes. Will you struggle to survive, or will you thrive by cutting work waste and getting more things right the first time?

We Want Your Company to Perform Better

Clients sometimes come to us for our experience and fresh eyes to drive improvement. Other times our focused workshops give teams the tools and knowledge they need to work smarter.

In the past year, we’ve completed the following:

  • Revised our 8D/Root Cause Problem Solving training materials. They can be delivered as an on-site workshop or via a series of web meetings.
  • Revised our Project Management training materials. Along with FMEA, Problem Solving and LPA, Project Management continues to be one of our most frequently requested workshops.
  • Increased our on-line and video training offerings.
  • Designed and piloted a new methodology for process innovation and customer discovery. Results include major changes to enhance the process users’ and customers’ experience and capitalize on technology to achieve greater productivity.
  • Updated the layout and content on our website, LuminousGroup.com
  • Studied the drafted AIAG-VDA FMEA Handbook, and provided comments and suggestions to the review committee. Our new FMEA training materials will be available soon.
  • We’re working with more software providers who help our clients with APQP, FMEA, LPA and Problem Solving/Lessons Learned software solutions.
  • We started offering customized training in Microsoft Office applications (Excel, PowerPoint, Project, SharePoint) to help clients learn new functions, which improve the productivity of their professional staff.
  • Initiated a LinkedIn member LPA group. Members of this group will promote and be a resource for the industry, at large, working to implement or get the kinks out of their LPA process verification strategy. [https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12166916/]
  • We proudly promoted product innovation in Michigan by sponsoring the first ever “Coolest Thing Made in Michigan Award” along with The Michigan Manufacturing Association (MMA).

What Can You Do Better in 2019?

It’s been a good year, and fun year. Now’s the time to set your sites on 2019 objectives.  We can help your plants, departments and teams create processes that get more things right the first time. If you’re looking for fresh thoughts to improve quality outcomes and bring more money to your bottom line, send us a note through our Contact page or call us at 248.538.8677.

The 2018 AIAG Quality Summit: Our Takeaway

The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) held its 2018 Quality Summit September 18 and 19 in Novi, Michigan. The event is held to share supplier and OEM perspectives on improving quality management standards and tools developed to monitor and ensure industry quality and product safety. This year’s theme was “Tools to Sustain your Automotive QMS.”  Rich Nave and I attended this year.

This annual event is an ongoing part of AIAG delivering on their mission of bringing experts together to work on processes and standards globally.  For The Luminous Group and our clients, a key component of AIAG activities is Quality Management System requirements (IATF 16949) Core Tools, and CQI guidelines, especially:  APQP, FMEA, Layered Process Audits (LPA) and Problem Solving.

Core Tools matter more than in the past because the supply chain has become global and, the more diverse the suppliers are, the more important that they all adopt tools and processes that contribute to everybody’s bottom line: measurable operational excellence throughout the supply chain.

The Summit this year included important announcements – and one ‘non-announcement’ (the highly anticipated AIAG-VDA FMEA Handbook). In addition, our conversations with many of the services exhibitors were similarly important. Taken together, they were about updates to standards and the tools (methods and software solutions) that the industry employs:

  • A new set of IATF documents was announced. These included a set of best practices and Frequently-Asked Questions.
  • A revised Effective Problem-Solving guideline (CQI-20) was announced and made available at the Summit (and now via the AIAG website)
  • The long-anticipated AIAG VDA FMEA Handbook (which was to be released after the September IATF 16949 Transition deadline) — was NOT announced and the planned update presentation session was cancelled.  The handbook has not yet been accepted by the key OEMs and Suppliers… but might be released (or the committee will provide an update). If it is released by AIAG, it promises to change the way many companies develop their Design and Process FMEAs.  I’m glad to share my ‘’Good Bad and the Ugly” high-level observations regarding the new handbook if you’d like a copy.

A majority of the exhibitor conversations were about software tools designed to facilitate the deployment of quality standards and Core Tools. There are now some great software solutions for APQP, FMEA, Problem Solving, IATF QMS plant scorecards and Layered Process Audits.

I believe the new IATF 16949:2016 standards, Core Tools as well as the new software solutions, are good steps forward. However, I think these prescribed disciplines come with a good deal of risk for the industry if they are not managed with the big picture and bottom line in mind.

While the evolution of standards makes sense, suppliers need those standards to impact more than just quality –they need to be understood and then embraced by leaders and functions beyond the ‘Quality’ department. The implementation of any standard is difficult to defend if it is only important at the practitioner level. Standards must be important at the executive level and need to impact long-term goals that contribute to operational excellence.

Similarly, software is most effective when it is accompanied by processes that make sense and training that ensures better than “garbage in / garbage out” results. Without a solid methodology and understanding of the “whys” and “hows,” software alone will not contribute to any improvement; some things cannot be completely automated. For a practitioner functioning without the right organizational support and senior leadership, software that encourages “checking the box” without a long-term understanding, fails to drive the desired impact.

Let’s get this message to higher-level managers and leaders at your company for the good of the Automotive industry.