By Jack Derewonko, Quality Manager
What does quality encompass at ebm-papst? It’s about producing reliable fans, blowers, motors, and assemblies that meet customers’ needs. Delivering on time. Providing outstanding service and engineering support. And, near and dear to our GreenTech philosophy, it’s about designing and manufacturing products that continually improve upon the prior generation in terms of technology and environmental consideration.
Quality systems are embedded into every department at ebm-papst that help reduce process variation, avoid waste, lower operating costs and improve efficiency. Each quality system in our company is controlled and well documented so that everyone understands and follows them in the same manner. When a new product is developed, multiple departments review it to ensure that the customer’s specifications are in synch with our internal design and manufacturing processes. During production, our corrective action systems reduce waste and scrap which conserves both energy and time.
By addressing potential risks before products are manufactured, we improve our ability to deliver on time without defects. Using a straightforward method called Failure Mode & Effects Analysis, or FMEA, we’re able to systematically review any number of processes and determine the risk factors within each that could affect quality and/or service. A successful FMEA helps us identify potential failure modes in a product based on our experience with similar products and processes. We then adjust our systems to eliminate the issues that would have contributed to that potential failure.
Our company-wide Continuous Improvement Program (CIP) emphasizes employee involvement and teamwork to eliminate waste and boost efficiency. In continuous improvement, we take a systematic long-term approach to improving all phases of work within our administrative, sales and marketing offices, our manufacturing facility and our logistics team. Lean manufacturing tools like 5S and one piece flow are just two aspects of our continuous improvement effort. By working together to identify and work through potential problems, we may get incremental improvements over time, or a breakthrough improvement all at once. Both are great outcomes to have in our toolbox as we strive for continuous improvement along our quality journey.