Quality Improvements Towards Zero Defects : Addressing the Implementation Gap Between Industry and Literature
Abstract: Customers today demand products of high quality, and industries must cope with issues related to that to stay competitive. Therefore, an endeavor to achieve zero defects and to work with zero defect manufacturing (ZDM) is common in industries today. ZDM aims to reduce the number of failures within a manufacturing process and thus only producing faultless products. Since defected items result in unexpected work, extra costs, claims and unsatisfied customers, it is important to avoid that in order to secure the company’s market share. Even though it implies challenges, companies must work with ZDM and quality tools to stay competitive. However, there is a gap between the literature of ZDM and how to accomplish ZDM in practice, which makes it hard for companies to apply the method. Hence, this thesis aims to address this gap and present how the human factors and quality contribute to the goal of zero defects. When working with a manually driven manufacturing setting, human factors must be considered as an important aspect. Mistakes will occur as long as humans work with the products, but the prerequisites for doing right must be as good as possible to be able to decrease the number of mistakes. Another factor to consider is the internal quality of different processes to ensure that customer demands are achieved through all stages. This study focused on finding suggestions for improvements towards zero defects in manual assembly and to present general improvement actions. The thesis is based on three main fields: ZDM, quality and human factors. The findings are connected both to literature searches made within these fields, but also through a case study at the focal company. In the analysis chapter, the reader is provided with information about how the specified problem areas are linked together and to the three main fields. By combining the literature search with a case study at a focal company, findings could be detected, collected and analyzed. Four areas could be identified in the analysis and highlighted in the discussion of the research questions. The highlighted areas were further used as a foundation to establish suggestion within the important areas. These acts as practical guidelines for how to reach zero defects in an existing production with the goal of minimizing the implementation gap of ZDM.
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