Talk on general motors quality system basics

The Department of Entrepreneurship and Supply Chain Management of UTAR Faculty of Business and Finance (FBF) organised a virtual talk, titled “Supplier Quality System Basic of General Motors” on 1 February 2024.

The talk, which was attended mostly by the Procurement Management and Global Sourcing (UBSM2024) course students, aimed to introduce and explain the implementation of Quality System Basic (QSB), a series of quality requirements for General Motors (GM) supply chain.

The talk was delivered by College of Food and Quality Engineering of Nanning University, China lecturer Dr Wang Hao. He has 20 years of quality management experience in the automotive industry. He is now a reviewer of the international journal IJCDS, TPC, IEEE and many other conferences. The one-hour online talk was attended by 136 participants including UTAR students and staff.

Dr Wang began his talk by emphasising the significance of quality in the automotive industry, citing the largest automotive recalls involving airbags manufactured by Takata. These recalls resulted in hundreds of deaths and the recall of over 400 million vehicles due to a defect in the inflator, leading to airbag explosions upon deployment. He explained that in certain instances, poor quality could result in substantial losses, and assessing the full extent of the damage can be challenging.

According to Dr Wang, organisations could immediately reduce operating costs by adopting a systematic approach - implementing the ten strategies of QSB. The entire supply chain could benefit from these strategies. He explained that while most automotive companies have their own specific requirements for suppliers, many of the core principles align with QSB or are similar to QSB. By implementing QSB, organisations can swiftly transition from a reactive to a proactive mode, ensuring manufacturing and assembly integrity through Layered Audits, fostering communication, and enhancing the ISO/TS 16949 (ISO 9001) Quality System. The observed improvements in quality performance during that period include enhanced communication and an improved IATF 16949 (ISO 9001) Quality system in the automotive industry.

He further explained that procurement, incorporated with QSB strategies, contributed to “Purchasing’s 16 steps”. The QSB aims to deliver world-class quality products with no major disruptions (quality-related) and no customer claims. To achieve this, the 10 key strategies of QSB include fast response (communication, problem-solving, lessons learned), firewall processes, control of non-conforming products, layered audit processes, standardised operations (workplace organisation, standardised work instructions, and operator instructions), error-proofing verification, risk reduction processes, contamination control, and supply chain management.

He further added that QS Motor is a “built-in-quality” standard that incorporates the zero-defect principle into all 10 key strategies. “This can only be achieved through teamwork, and fostering this culture within the organisation is essential. Be a champion of quality, every day, every hour, every minute, every second, involving all the people all the time,” he added.

Dr Wang emphasised that the implementation of QSB enhances the Quality System, thereby reducing quality costs. Quality costs refer to the total expenses incurred by a company due to inadequate quality control or management processes. These costs typically encompass expenses associated with scrap, repair, rework, containment, additional operations and operators for rework, premium freight, loss of business, and so forth.

Dr Wang also elaborated on the Fast Response Process, which is one of the ten strategies of QSB. When a problem arises between the current situation and customer satisfaction, the initial step is to address the problem using the Fast Response Process. Fast Response is a systematic and disciplined approach to responding to internal and external quality failures. It fosters communication and discipline through daily meetings and employs visual methods to display crucial information. To prepare for the Fast Response meeting, the Quality team identifies significant quality concerns at the beginning of the day. The key steps in the Fast Response Process include:

The benefits of Fast Response Process include:

Dr Wang concluded the talk by reminding the audience that organisations must define a process for problem-solving, leading to the identification and elimination of root causes. Failure to implement such a process diminishes the benefits that suppliers would otherwise receive from implementing the strategy.
The talk ended with a Q&A session.

A virtual group photo

The speaker, Dr Wang (top right) delivering the talk with a PowerPoint presentation

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