5 Strategies Of High Performance Enterprise Quality Management Teams  

quality managementBottom line: All manufacturers are on a quality management journey with many progressing quicker than their competitors, attaining more in just a few years than their competitors attain in a lifetime.

What Sets High Achieving Quality Management Teams Apart From The Rest?

What sets the highest performing manufacturers and the teams that comprise them apart from so many others? What are these teams doing right while many of their competitors waste months and even years of time and effort, not getting the results they need to survive?

The answer can be found in how they are using analytics, tightly integrated manufacturing execution systems (MES), quality management and manufacturing intelligence to drive needed change throughout manufacturing and across the value chains of their businesses. In short, they are armed with excellent data and insights gleaned from an excellent grasp of how quality contributes to customer success, and are on a mission to make their manufacturing strategies the strongest and most effective in their industries.

Stay Hungry For Excelling At Quality Because Complacency Kills   

One of the most value lessons learned from studying high performance quality management teams is that complacency kills. Walk the halls of the production operations of manufacturers where high performance quality management teams work and you’ll notice:

  • These teams are competing constantly against the best quality levels they’ve attained in the past. High performance quality management teams compete against themselves to reach new levels of performance – not against other departments. They don’t have time for politics, they are too busy trying to beat their previous quality management records.
  • Customer-driven quality metrics and data dominate every screen and dashboard. These teams immerse themselves in dashboards and data that show how they are progressing against customers’ quality goals. They use this data to drive needed change throughout their companies, including shifting senior management’s mindset about how to improve quality in manufacturing on a consistent basis.
  • Quality management is a team sport to the senior management level. What’s impressive is how these high performance quality management teams find, nurture and strengthen their senior management sponsors who can slice through bureaucracy and make things happen.  The highest performing quality management teams seek out champions in the senior management rank regularly, underscoring just how critical quality is to winning and keeping customers.
  • Giving everyone in the plant or factory a chance to own quality too.  What’s remarkable about these teams is that they deliberately seek to break down the silos that make other quality management teams mediocre. High performance quality management teams work very hard to make sure everyone on the shop floor thoroughly understands what their contribution is to quality.
  • Urgency and an impatience to excel at quality. You can feel it on the shop floor of manufacturers that have high performance quality management teams. They anticipate meeting and exceeding customer expectations – they welcome the challenge of excelling beyond their customers’ expectations. Their stories told at break and at lunch revolve around delivering a particularly challenging product at a quality level the customer never expected.   In short, they truly kick ass at quality.

Get a great new e-book, Five Strategies For Improving Enterprise Quality Management 

At iBase-t we’ve put together an e-book of the top five strategies for improving quality management based on our visits with the highest performing quality management teams in complex manufacturing. You can get a copy here:
Five Strategies For Improving Enterprise Quality Management 

Don’t Let the Marketing Fool You, Real Value Gets Created on the Shop Floor First

Engineer And Trainee Using Equipment In FactoryBottom line:  You can have all the fancy tools, all the simulation that shows how products could be assembled, but if your shop floor isn’t working efficiently, if they don’t have the right tool to build the product, those other fancy options bring you no value.

I was sitting in on a PLM presentation the other day, and as I was listening to the marketing and sales pitch, I thought, “Sure, this sounds cool, simulation sounds fun, and it would be interesting to be able to understand how our models would help reduce errors, but what happens when I take all of this to the shop floor?”  There is a significant difference between your shop floor day to day activities and the ivory tower the design engineers sit in with their fancy tools.

Time For A Shop Floor Reality Check 

What does a design system really look like on the shop floor? Chaos.  Your shop floor must have a system; a true product execution system in order to do their job.  Your shop floor system must deal with, time and labor collection, operational control, part shortage, component consumption tracking, data collections and their dependence on each other, electronic signatures, limited life tracking, batching, red lines, non-conformance, dispositions, links to supporting documentation, certifications, crew assignments, machine assignments, alternate parts, swaps, test sequences and cable connection status, and absolutely most importantly, incorporation of change on the open work orders/WIP.  Can your PLM system do all of these things? Can your ERP?  Absolutely not. It is imperative that your shop floor continues to move, continues to build, and is allowed to be efficient.

Making Every Production Minute Count 

Think about it. Each time, every time your technicians have to stop, your company is losing money.  Let me repeat that, every single time your technician stops, asks questions, write up a discrepancy, wait for an engineer to make a change, you are losing money.  The goal folks, is to reduce the amount the product stops. The only way to do that is to have a complete, comprehensive, pre-built and integrated shop floor manufacturing execution system.  Not a PDM system, not an ERP system, but a real, focused, and integrated MES.  One that was designed with you in mind.

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Making Supplier Quality Management Pay

Currency symbols, binary codes and globe (Digital composite)

Bottom line: Supply chains are the lifeblood of any business, and the more agile and flexible they are, the greater resilience and strength any manufacturer has.

What’s Making Supplier Quality Urgent 

For complex manufacturers the challenges of keeping up with evolving and often unpredictable customer demand, combined with the need for innovation speed leads to margins and profits being squeezed. Having a solid supplier quality strategy can save thousands of hours and dollars solving quality problems that could have been caught in the initial supplier on-boarding or inbound inspection, traceability and internal supplier audits. With over 70% of a typical aerospace or defense product being comprised of sourced parts, supply chain performance will make or break any manufacturer quickly if they aren’t managed to high performance.

A&D Manufacturers Bet Their Businesses Daily On Their Supply Chains

In the recent Deloitte 2015 Global Aerospace and Defense Industry Outlook (22 pp., no opt-in, PDF) just how unpredictable airline forecast variation becomes clear.  The following figure from the study illustrates just how unpredictable A&D supply chains are. Anticipating demand and being able to stay synchronized with the many suppliers for complex aerospace and defense projects is key to staying profitable and competitive.

airline forecast variation


Staying profitable needs to start with a strong supplier quality management strategy. Projections from Deloitte related to defense revenue and operating margin show how just a slight change in revenues and operating efficiency can drag profits down.  Protecting margins in slow growth markets needs to start with a strong supplier quality management strategy.

defense forecast

Seven Strategies For Improving Supplier Quality Management

Taking a strategic view and series of actions to drive up supplier quality needs to be the starting point. Moving beyond reacting and fire-fighting to driving greater supplier quality will make the difference between a project being delivered on time, under budget and delivering revenue. The following e-book provides seven lessons learned on how to turn supplier quality management into a strength for any complex manufacturer:

Everything You Need To Know About Improving Supplier Quality Management


53% of Aerospace and Defense Manufacturers Say Growth is Their Top Priority

  • jet50% of A&D manufacturers expect new manufacturing technologies to drive future growth and innovation.
  • 41% of A&D manufacturers are forecasting their R&D spending will be greater than 6% of revenue in two years.
  • Only 10% of A&D manufacturers said they have complete visibility of their supply chain operations, with 40% admitting they had only partial or limited visibility.

These and many other insights are from the KPMG Global Aerospace and Defense Outlook 2015 published last month. You can download a copy of the report here (free, no opt-in, PDF). KPMG’s research team found that A&D manufacturers are challenged to find the best opportunities for growth while balancing the time constraints, costs and risks of changing business models and increasingly complex supply chains. Please see page 18 of the study for an overview of the methodology.

Key take-aways from the report include the following:

  • 50% of manufacturers are adopting new manufacturing technologies to drive new growth and innovation.  Increasing R&D spend (46%), expanding after-market and service offerings (38%) and development new partnerships to drive innovation (35%) are also the most-often mentioned strategies A&D manufacturers are relying on to drive new growth and innovation.  34% are adopting new business and operating models, which is forcing an entirely new level of technology investment as well.

drive growth and innovation

  • Sales growth (53%), reducing cost structure (47%), improving risk controls (28%) and increasing cash flow from operations (28%) are the top three priorities for A&D manufacturers in 2015. Reducing cost structures and improving risk controls are trending up in the forecast period of the study. KPMG’s research team found that A&D manufacturers are striving to launch new business models while minimizing risk and controlling costs.

Top priorities for A&D organizations

  • Keeping their business models competitive (38%), efficiency in research and development/product development (32%), and intense competition and pressure on prices (26%) are the top three challenges facing A&D manufacturers. The research study also found that price volatility on key cost inputs (22%) and IT systems keeping pace with the demand from the business (21%) are the fourth and fifth most-mentioned challenges by A&D organizations.  The following graphic provides an overview of the top five challenges A&D organizations face today:

top five challenges

  • A&D manufacturers are projected to increase their R&D spending significantly in the next two years. 41% are forecasting their R&D spending will be greater than 6% of revenue in two years.  29% expect to invest between 4 and 5% of their revenue in R&D in the next two years.  A comparison of R&D spending as a percentage of revenue is shown below.

R&D Spending

  • Lowering costs and working capital levels (54%), restructuring to support growth (32%) and segmenting and tailoring supply chain assets and processes based on specific product needs/demand practices (32%) are the top three supply chain priorities. A&D manufacturers are concentrating on how they can attain more effective supply chain segmentation that can scale globally while reducing supply and compliance risks. These needs are a strong catalyst for future investment in technologies as more A&D manufacturers seek to optimize their supply chains by reducing costs and restructuring them to support growth.

top supply chain priorities

  • The greatest supply chain challenges A&D manufacturers face include ensuring sufficient supplier capacity meet demand (43%), supplier performance in terms of risk, reliability and quality (43%) and flexibility and responsiveness to changes in demand or product mix (40%). The following graphic provides an overview of the top supply chain challenges faced:

top supply chain challenges
Making Cost Of Quality A Competitive Advantage In Aerospace & Defense

Top Three Insights from the 2015 Paris Air Show

Every two years in June, aviation and space enthusiasts turn their attention to the International Air Show and Space of Paris-Le Bourget (SIAE), more commonly known as the Paris Air Show. This is the largest international event representing the aviation, aerospace and defense industries on a global scale today.

1909 showThe origin of this exhibition began in December, 1908 when a “reserved to the things of the air” section is created in the motor show at the Grand Palais in Paris. The following year in September 1909, although still associated with the Motor Show, the event became the first international exhibition of aerial locomotion and the first purely aviation event, marking the beginnings of the aviation industry in France. This show was created by André Granet (1881-1974) and Robert Esnault-Pelterie (1881-1957), aviation pioneer and inventor who created the industrial aerial locomotion Association the previous year. No shows were held during the First and Second World Wars.


June 2015 markedengine the opening of the 51rst edition of this highly anticipated show where iBase-t contributed to the industry’s knowledge of Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), Quality Management and Supplier Quality Assurance software. This year nearly 120 civil and military aircraft, many of them state-of-the-art in design and development, were presented.  The iBase-t team witnessed some great demonstrations of civil and military aircraft flight, including the spectacular vertical takeoff of the Boeing 787, the sleek aerobatic Rafale and the majestic flight of the Airbus A380 to name a few. French President, Francois Hollande was one of the many dignitaries in attendance leading the opening day ceremonies on Monday, June, 15.


ariane rocketThe iBase-t team found the event fascinating and well worth the time invested seeing what the 2,260 exhibitors from 47 different countries were promoting at the event. Many companies and large groups were presented: Safran, Antonov, Dassault, Gulftream, Airbus, MBDA, Diehl, Thussenkrupp, Arianespace, ATR, Areva, and Bombardier to name a few.

In numbers, this years’ event was a great success with:

  • 351,000 visitors
  • $130B orders & purchase intentions received by vendors in attendance
  • Over 100 aircraft orders per day
  • 124 aircraft ($ 16.3 billion) sold by Airbus, the international European aircraft manufacturer
  • 145 aircraft ($ 18.6 billion) sold by Boeing, the international American manufacturer
  • 48 Rafale have been sold by the French army
  • $ 18.6 billion sold by ATR, the world leader in-propeller aircraft

Innovation wasn’t forgotten at this show.

onera imageThe Onera,organization specializing in aeronautics research, presented an airline concept that would save 15 to 20% lower fuel consumption compared to previous models of medium-range aircraft such as the Airbus A320. A model of the Nova was presented, a concept civilian aircraft capable of carrying 180 passengers at a speed of 900 km per hour. The Nova will be available as early as 2025.

This aircraft was designed around the concept of more efficient engines, with a larger diameter, to capitalize on a greater amount of air. This pattern is not new, the latest models of the Boeing 727 and A320 (A320 Neo for New Engine Option), were re-engineered with larger diameter engines. On the one hand, this helps to reduce noise and power consumption but on the other hand, the aircraft must be able to carry these new heavier engines, designed to support greater weight. The entire aircraft has been redesigned accordingly.

Jet Production Line ImageSnecma showcased the LEAP (Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion) production lines with assisted movements, laser projection, virtual reality and online.  The company offers every advantage in this initiative to ensure fast production ramp of its two LEAP engine production lines. Each pulse line is planned for the assembly of 500 LEAP engines per year.

At Villaroche site, two new assembly lines dedicated to LEAP will be created alongside the two existing production lines for the CFM56. These pulse lines will resemble the image below with the following dimensions: 60 meters long and 20 meters wide. The two lines should be operational in January, 2017 and early 2018 respectively. With those production lines, Snecma will be able to assemble up to 1,000 engines per year at this site, or more than 4 engines per day.

These pulse lines will also benefit from many technological innovations. The engines of the movements will be managed via touch screens, air handling will swing by the rotation of the motors on their horizontal axis (exclusive patent of Snecma’s). The positioning equipment on the engines will be assisted by laser projection and virtual reality systems allowing operators to work more accurately and at a faster pace with specialized tools.  It will be a configured as a 60 meter U line with a dozen of work stations. The company has already registered 8,900 orders.

The Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX and Comac C919 jets and others that will be using engines produced on the pulse line. The objective is to reach 900 engines per year on the site Villaroche 2020.

3d modelAdditive manufacturing using metal substrates is gaining momentum in aerospace manufacturing. Many exhibitors at the show were presenting 3D printers and 3D printing materials. This technology is coming soon into the production line.

The most obvious example was a scale model 1/8th of a reactor mat (the mechanical assembly fixing the engine under the wing) presented by Sogeclair Aerospace. This set is the result of an R&D conducted with the simulation tools publisher Altair and the 3D print provider. It is printed on a machine EOS polyamide. At scale 1, this set of 6 meters long will consist of 14 parts for a mass of only 350 kg, against 450 kg for an assembly of 654 classical pieces cut in the mass.

There is strong interest in this new mode of production on the part of PLM vendors. This new process will support end-to-end hardware design covering upstream as well as downstream testing and accuracy of the manufacturing process.  The examples at the show illustrated how digital engineering parameters required for the additive manufacturing of engine parts, materials science, functional specifications, generative design, optimization of 3D printing, multi-robot production and certification all must be tightly orchestrated to be successful.

Altran presented the pop3d, a 3D printer developed in partnership with Thales Alenia Space, who is capable of producing additive parts in microgravity. It will be tested aboard the International Space Station (ISS) by the end of the year.

Top Three Insights Gained From the Paris Air Show

  1. Taurus Systems: A joint venture between SAAB and MBDA and is specialized in the area of Stand-off Weapon Systems ranging from initial concept studies to the fully developed weapon, ready-to-operate integrated system solution such as effects-based operation illustrates just how fast innovation is permeating defense systems globally.
  2. Diehl Defense: Specialized in the production of highly accurate guided missiles for armies, air forces and navies, system solutions for ground-based air defense, intelligent ammunition solutions to innovative reconnaissance and protection systems illustrate how advanced analytics and GPS is revolutionizing defense electronics.
  3. Liebherr Aerospace: Supplies aircraft air management, flight control and actuation systems, hydraulic and landing gears systems for commercial transport aircraft, commuter and regional aircraft, business jets, fighters, military transport, trainer aircraft as well as civil and military helicopters. Leibherr’s product advances illustrate how software is playing a pivotal role in the development of the next generation of aerospace and defense systems.

Bottom line: The iBase-t team gained excellent insights into how Solumina can help aerospace and defense manufacturers meet the challenges of current and future projects, programs and initiative at the Paris Air Show this year – and will be sharing those insights throughout the year.

See you in 2017 for the 52nd edition of the International Air Show and Space of Paris-Le Bourget !

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Simon Ellis to Provide the Keynote Address at iBase-t’s User Conference, Excelerate 2015

Foothill Ranch, Calif, July 21, 2015 — iBase-t is pleased to announce that  Simon Ellis, Practice Director, IDC Manufacturing Insights to perform the keynote speech at iBase-t’s user conference, Excelerate. Excelerate 2015: Surfing the Digital Thread is being held on October 6-8, 2015 at the Newport Beach Marriott in Newport Beach, California.

Mr. Ellis currently leads the supply chain strategies practice area at IDC Manufacturing Insights, one of IDC’s industry business units that address the current market gap by providing fact-based research and analysis on best practices and the use of information technology to assist clients in improving their capabilities in key process areas. Within the supply chain practice, Mr. Ellis specializes in advising clients on LCS (Low Cost Sourcing), Lean, Six Sigma and more. Mr. Ellis also contributes his supply chain expertise to IDC Retail Insights research.

“We’re thrilled to have a keynote speaker from one of our partners,” said Louis Columbus, vice president of marketing, “Mr. Ellis is an excellent choice and we’re looking forward to his delivery about the digital thread.”

Mr. Ellis blogs in the IDC Manufacturing Insights Community and contributes to the IDC Retail Insights Community.

Twitter: @SimEllis

Register now! Or, visit Excelerate 2015: Surfing the Digital Thread to learn more.

About iBase-t

iBase-t is a leading provider of software solutions to complex, highly regulated industries, like Aerospace and Defense, Medical Devices, Nuclear, Industrial Equipment, Electronics and Shipbuilding. iBase-t’s Solumina software streamlines and integrates Manufacturing Execution System and Operations Management (MES/MOM), Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) and Enterprise Quality Management System (EQMS) for operations and Supplier Quality Management. Solumina is implemented by industry leaders, including BAE Systems, Airbus Space & Defense, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, NASA, Northrop Grumman, Textron and United Technologies.

Manufacturing Operations Management Made the World Flat

Manufacturing Operations Management Made the World Flat

The world is getting flatter. We’re text messaging anyone in the world in seconds. We’re having web meetings with video. One is virtually in the room halfway across the world.

Aerospace manufacturing has become more global too. European companies have set up shops in the United States. U.S. companies have set up shops in the Far East. It’s no surprise when an aircraft is assembled in one country and shipped halfway around the world to be finalized elsewhere. What used to take weeks of moving product, now only takes days. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t make complex manufacturing easier… in fact, it probably makes it more difficult. Aerospace manufacturers are now competing on speed and quality. Which means, a detailed, scalable, and industry specific Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) system is now imperative for efficient, scalable production execution.

The bottom line is the MRO system must be as flexible as your business.

From moving product lines half way around the world, to reaching suppliers that may be in your backyard, or thousands of miles away in Singapore. The execution system must facilitate seamless communication of information across the entire product line – from suppliers to service centers – and be ‘one source of truth’ to the manufacturing or assembly progress. Understanding the needs such as composite out time tracking, to warranty requirements, to MRB online disposition are just a few of the needs A&D customers should expect in their execution system.

In 2014, over forty new A&D manufacturing facilities were built. This means the manufacturing environments are changing faster.  What has worked in the past, what has been able to be kept in house, what has been slow to progress is no longer acceptable. Your manufacturing operations should follow suit. If you are not on a MOM and MRO execution across all your shop floors, then you far behind the manufacturing curve. Market leaders are setting a fast pace in this area, redefining the nature of global production. If your current execution system is not integrated between operations, quality, supplier products, service centers, then you too, are falling behind in the race. Your execution system should facilitate your global operations and if it is not, then it’s time to start investing.

If you are not familiar with MOM and MRO Execution software and how it can help your operations, contact iBase-t today at 877.422.7381 or visit www.ibaset.com.