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Every organization has certain problems that affect the quality of the product they are producing. At Abbott Labs Ross division the problem is the quality of the caps that are supplied to Ross from the cap manufacturer. These caps are essential to the production of the Ensure plastic bottle line because they seal the bottle after filling. The problem that Ross is having is the caps are not always a uniform shape. If the shape is off by just a little bit then they will get stuck in the cap-shoot and cause the line to go down. This affects the production deadlines and affects the on-time delivery of the product. This also creates a problem with the cap size that was validated by the FDA and any change in size has to be approved by the FDA using a Validation Change Request. Since the cap size is not the same as the ones that were validated then the whole process is in jeopardy of being shutdown by the FDA. This also would have a tremendous affect on the on-time delivery of the product to the customers.
The strategic plan of Abbott Laboratories is to produce a quality product to the customers on time. This quality problem does affect the plan of Abbott by creating delays in the delivery time. It is important to any organization that they not keep the customer waiting to receive what they order because this gives the customer time to look for alternative to their product. Many do not associated on-time delivery as a product of quality but if a product is not received in a timely manner then the customer's first impression can be negative.
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Processes have different internal and external customers that are impacted by the process that would benefit from the process improvement. There are many internal and external customers that are involved in the process of the cap problem. The internal customers are the employees at the plant. Abbott offers a generous profit sharing plan based on the years profits. If the company starts losing customers then the employees' profit sharing will be affected. Another internal customer is the FDA. Although they are not an internal part of the company, they are the driving force behind the quality aspect of the organization. The FDA sets standards that the organization must follow during their manufacturing process or risk being shutdown. External customers are the retailers and the consumers. They are important because they are when the revenue comes from to pay salaries and investments. Customers are the reason that quality is important.
Every process needs a Quality Measurement Tool to gage the success or failure of the process. The most appropriate quality management tool that can be used to collect and present data on the process improvement is the run chart. This is because it can display process performance over time. The run chart can also show the upward and downward trends compared against the expected outcome.
Analyzing the data collected over seven day it shows that with an acceptable standard of thirty crashes per day, the cap problem is causing crashes above the standard five out of the seven days. This is causing a delay in the manufacturing process of thirty minutes per delay and with a line that is run at seven hundred bottles per minute the overall production lose is 21,000 bottles. With an average of over three crashes per shift above the acceptable standard, it equals out to over 63,000 bottle and 2,635 cases per day. This equals a six percent lose per week due to problems with the caps. The problem is with the manufacturing of the caps that are supplied by a supplier. There needs to be an immediate search for a different supplier to put pressure on the current supplier and to ensure that the six percent lose per week can be fixed. This fix can come from better quality from the current supplier or it can come from a different supplier. This lose is significant and has to be fixed immediately.
The level of improvement that can be realized from fixing the cap problem is evident by looking at the data. Just by meeting the acceptable standard a savings of six percent can be realized immediately. This will result in increased revenue by supplying more products and reducing the amount of people it take to complete the process of making a quality product. The reason it takes less people is because it takes four to five additional people to clear a jam in the cap-shoot. These people include shop personnel that are the highest paid hourly employees in the plant. These quality changes will result in an immediate cost saving that will result in more revenue and better customer satisfaction.
Quality is important to all organizations because it represents the vision of the organization. If an organization is not willing to be dedicated producing quality product in a timely manner then they will not be a successful organization because the customer will find an organization that will. Abbott has realized that quality is important and this recent problem with the caps can be fixed. With proper planning the process will see the opportunity of increase time and revenue realized decreasing the amount of crashes and time it take to complete the process of delivering Ensure in a plastic bottle to the customer.