Quality Improvement

Project Details

When we first began the assignment, we were manufacturing outboard hydraulic tilt and trim systems with an internal first time rejection rate of over 75% and an external parts per million (PPM) rejection rate of over 10,000.

Processes and Solutions

The primary step that we took for the project was to assemble a multi-disciplined team and to collect enough data to understand the significant issues that were responsible for the high number of rejects. Within just two weeks, we were able to identify and prove the following root causes:

  • Cleanliness of the Components
  • Quality of the Low Cost Country Procured Components
  • Engineering Specification of the Springs
  • Adherence to the Assembly and Testing Procedures

By the end of the second month on the project, we installed the containment criteria that reduced the internal and external rejection rates to 1% and 0 PPM. To do this, we significantly increased our internal labor and scrap costs.

During the next four months, we worked on the long-term issues that allowed us to bring costs back into line while implementing quality management solutions. Doing this required us to quickly change the culture of the company and to ensure that everyone did their job correctly the first time. We realized throughout this process that management was the primary issue. As a result, we needed to train the management team with necessary skills necessary to meet expectations regarding automotive quality, delivery, and cost.


After six months and upon completion, the first time internal rejection rate was reduced to 1% and the parts per million (PPM) rejection rate was at 0.

With the support of the senior management team, the company was able to take lessons learned on the product line to improve the company’s profitability through a quality management plan, allowing them to develop new, leading-edge marine technology.