Romeo Engine Plant A-1) Romeo Engine Plant has established the Romeo Quality Process (RQP) with the objective of; -Understanding customer expectations on engine performance, -Deploying such understanding in the manufacturing process and achieve minimal Variation, By employing; – Zero-defect philosophy, – No rework policy, – Continuously improving product quality and process efficiency. A-2) Deploying teams responsible for manufacturing, engineering, Quality Control, Production systems and supplier relationships. Laid down target levels for product and process characteristics adapting a Zero defects philosophy. No rework approach
Defective engines during the manufacturing process were scrapped. Engine Exchange Program; if an engine is identified to be defective by the Dealers or assembly plants and the same cannot be fixed by minor repair, such engines are exchanged with new ones and the complaint ones are brought to the factory for evaluation. Complaint form and Action plan; Quality problem are logged in to a complaint form and action plan were prepared within 24 hours. Plans shall specify the defect, the solution and steps to prevent recurrence. Quality problems originating from out side the plants called for action plans of less than 24 hours.
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Vehicle Quality survey; Bench marking Romeo engines against those used by competitors to attain best-in-class quality. Life Education Centre (LEC); Education and training initiative offering courses from high school equivalency to graduate technical and management skills. Knowledge based integrated design and engineering with process staff integration of very high level. Product development structure: Adopted a do-it-differently philosophy by think–problem solve-ensure quality methodology. Flexible work assignments, Encouraging initiative, creativity and prudent risk taking by production staff and mangers.
Information system: Highly customized, integrated and real time systems with 5 Digital Equipment Corporation, VAX Computers plus 350 personal computers in the plant. Software developed and adapted for Romeo application. Machine Monitoring Systems; Monitoring and paging system integrated to automatic gauging equipments with fault code indicators page message to concerned operators, with fault code and machine ID. Bottleneck operations; are thoroughly evaluated and streamlined. Pareto analysis; on defects caused attacking major causes and monthly meeting with internal and outside suppliers focusing on Quality, productivity.
Full losses caused by defective parts are billed to supplier. Check Book System: Worked like a charge card with nominal daily limit, with each team receiving an authorization for how much they spend an indirect material. Teams negotiated directly with supplier for parts they wanted. A-3) Romeo Engine Plant mostly used the Belief system to drive their manufacturing strategy. They also employed other levers to make the control process effective. Belief Systems; Though processes are automated, Romeo had a work team organization where people have to think, solve problems and ensure quality.
Encouraged initiative, creativity and prudent risk taking. Teams are allowed to negotiate with suppliers directly for supplies. Created an atmosphere where people strive as a team to achieve common objective. Diagnostic Control Systems; Information systems and Auto paging; Automatic unmanned machines with automatic gauging equipment to signal defective part /jammed material which also display the status and fault code. Computer sends automatic page message to the operators. The team Manager got automatic page message on critical/bottleneck resources. Auto generated MMS signaled failure, machine ID and fault code.
Ensured a continuous feed back mechanism helped in preventing bottlenecks, quality, customer focus and minimal product performance variance. Real time tracking report for operational metrics like, m/c failures, time lost failure codes. Targets for product and process reflecting customer expectations on product performance. Actual cost method is followed than labor and overhead report. Check book system: Acts as an authorization limit and check on indirect expense and making teams responsible for controlling cost. Scrap cost were assigned to work team responsible for the process. 4 hour response: Action plans have to be within 24 hours of receiving a complaint and by less than 24 hours for complaints receiving from outside the factory. Daily tracking system of quality problems reported from assembly plants and dealers. This ensured that quality issues are attended quickly and on an urgent basis. Weekly review of complaints form and respective action plans. Weekly meetings: To focus on quality, productivity and scrap related issues on a continuous basis. Continuous improvement and feed back mechanism moved process towards zero defect philosophy. The functions of tracking defects are mostly automated.
This gave workers and managers enough time and resources to work on improving action, innovation and quality. Boundary Systems; Eliminated incoming inspection and rework at the plant. No-rework policy. Suppliers were billed for full loss caused by defective parts supplied by them. A-4) Strength; Culture and Employee skills: Deep rooted quality consciousness and team spirit. Highly skilled staff and high morale. Good labor elation with effective policies leading to high level of empowerment. Information system: reliable and well deployed computers and information system aligned to their total quality, zero defect philosophy.
Automatic and system generated fault detection and feed back systems. Cost structure and control. Tight fungal cost structure with supported TQM and zero defect interactive. Ensured competitive strength on the cost front. Product quality: Superior Quality and performance when benchmarked to competitors engines. Best-in-class quality and customer focus. High understanding of customer expectations about engine performance and reliability. Supplier relationship: Excellent understanding with suppliers aligning REP’s objectives of Zero defectives, product performance and fulfilling the customer expectation.
Strong internal focus on R & D, Technology, Innovation and developing related capabilities. Maximizing strength: Develop capability for new and complex engine type by leveraging on the strength on R & D, Innovation, problem solving skills and customer focus. Marketing initiative to become an OEM engine supplier to other car manufactures. Enter into alliances and JVs, there by venturing into opportunities available outside. This may insulate REP against risk off fall in demand from ford. Employing quality initiatives like Strategic/Process Bench trending and Process Quality Teaming.
Weakness; Over reliance on operational efficiency: Lack of strategic planning and management expertise, over reliance on operational efficiency of the plant. May prove to be a weakness over the long term. Efficiency improvement may not be achieved continuously for a long term. Dependence on automated system; Capital intensive. : High fixed cost; High manufacturing overhead of 23% as compared to direct labor of 2% on cost of goods sold. Indicate high fixed cost on plant. The plant is functioning just on the break even capacity for the last five years.
Potential risk in case the demand fall or technology became obsolete. Rigidity of structure and processes: Structure does not allow for manufacturing many engine types and complex engines. Over come weaknesses; Create a more flatter or matrix structure which will enable it to produce more complex operation and engine types. Create a strategic intend and employ strategic management to capitalize opportunities for producing new engine types. Seek opportunities of selling engines at higher margin leveraging on best-in-class quality or creating high volume to spread fixed cost on more units.