Enabling change for a troubled global tier-one automotive supplier

The challenge

As well as failing to meet customer requirements on time and in full, significant costs were being incurred from product sent to scrap and rework, overproduction, shortages, expedited shipping and recruitment. The supplier faced a significant challenge to regain normal status in order to de-risk their relationship with the customer, secure future revenue, improve efficiency and reduce waste.

The main challenges were:

  • Reducing quality report issues from 30 to less than 12 per month, within the next 6 months
  • Defects of 500 Parts Per Million (PPM) to be reduced to less than 30 PPM
  • The supplier needed to eliminate 15,000 parts arrears and achieve 70% of parts delivered on time and in full
  • A scrap level of over 20% would need to be significantly reduced to help bring costs under control

Shortfalls in capability and high staff turnover meant that, to meet the challenge, this automotive parts supplier would need to assess, train and certify all of their front-line team leaders to the basic skills necessary for their role.

How we helped

The Unipart turnaround team set to work alongside front line staff and leaders to restore operational grip. This began in the site’s key area of constraint (the paint plant) with training in, and the implementation of, problem solving systems and standard visual management in daily roles. Team leaders were also trained in Unipart’s award-winning team leader training programme. The paint plant area’s demonstration of best practice would then act as a showcase and learning centre for the rest of the manufacturing facility. The supplier’s teams, supported by Unipart, were able to design and implement material flow, inventory & packing control improvements.

A site logistics strategy was also implemented to improve storage and handling of in process and finished parts, and the development of logistics facilities.

In order to sustain the improvement, to correct deviations from best practice, and to flag issues the Unipart team implemented a system of layered audits and a peer-to-peer sustainability audit that would drive consistency and provide a framework to call upon on relevant Subject Matter Experts as required.

Crucially, these systems and measures would provide all employees with a more thorough understanding of the customer’s quality requirement, enable swift identification of any deviations from standard, and help to resolve issues far in advance of any sub-standard components being shipped to the customer.

By working alongside our client’s production and leadership teams, Unipart coaches have been able to impart knowledge and experience that would further help the organisation to sustain change and continuously improve operations.

The results

Our client has reaped significant result from Unipart’s support and capability transfer. All of the original targets have been met, if not exceeded. Crucially, this automotive supply chain partner has now exited ‘special status’ after meeting customer targets consistently for 90 days. This has not only saved the contract, but has also ensured that the supplier can bid for new contracts in the future.

To see the full results and to look further into how we helped this global tier-one automotive supplier to restore operational grip, download the full case study below:

increase productivity for automotive suppliers