Shelter in place is providing time for many projects that would not get done otherwise. While decluttering, I found some great mementos. Not just souvenirs, mementos tell a story. Here are four COVID-19 decluttering favorites:
During the late 80’s, Ford (and the rest of the global auto industry) was desperately trying to catch the Japanese on quality. Part of that effort was to put problem solving resources into assembly plants.
I was on one of the plant quality teams, assigned to Louisville Assembly Plant. We received extensive training in statistical methods: SPC, DOE, etc. During a training off-site at the Dearborn Inn, W. Edwards Deming stopped by for a visit. Yes, that Dr. Deming.
After an impromptu talk, photos were taken. I am just behind Dr. Deming’s right shoulder. On his right are David Kho and Steve Redding. To Dr. Deming’s left are Ben Monhollen and Jim Dottavio. I think that is Dave Johnson at the left edge of the photo.
The next two mementos came from Q1. Ford’s Q1 quality award was a well-conceived program to “stretch” plants to improve quality methods and systems. A major Q1 stretch was to demonstrate process capability on (I think) 50 significant characteristics. An SC was something important to our customers: dirt in paint, door efforts, box-to-cab fits. Voice of the customer.
All SC’s were documented with flow charts, fishbone diagrams, control plans, reaction plans, and control charts on SPC boards near the production operation. The task was to first achieve statistical control and then reduce variation. The higher the Cp/Cpk, the more points toward Q1.
Here’s a photo of the Brakes SPC board during Louisville Assembly Plant’s process capability review. The SC’s would have been brake pedal travel and parking brake pedal effort.
I am just right of center in the red tie. John Coleman is behind me. It’s Lanny Vincent in the short sleeve shirt looking in. I think that is Vera Linnansalo to his left. It looks like Steve Redding in the light blue shirt in the back with Stu Kendrick mostly hidden behind him.
Here’s a summary sheet from the Louisville Q1 Process Capability Review. This SC, Ranger Box-to-Cab Margin Left Side, earned 13 points towards Q1 with a Cp/Cpk of 1.35/1.28. In the background of the image, you can see the Ford Blue SPC board.
I don’t remember the two operators in this photo but I can remember others on the team like it was yesterday: Larry Graham, Bob Bearden, Frank Kindrick, Ed Atherton. Good people, all of them. It was a busy time…we were working towards Q1, preparing for the initial Explorer launch, and building 87 (!) Rangers and Bronco II’s per hour.
After all the plants were through Q1, the next stretch was ISO 9001. Somebody convinced Alex Trotman that ISO 9001 registration was a perfect fit for his “Ford 2000” global reorganization. A letter was signed and the two-year clock started ticking.
I found myself on a very capable team responsible for the initial registration of 31 North American stamping and assembly plants. Project management? This was it.
A big challenge (and there were many) was communication. How to get one message to tens of thousands of employees?
Building on lessons learned at Oakville Assembly Plant’s single site ISO 9002 registration, Julie Trosen designed a pocket guide. I wrote the content, a “Cliff’s Notes” version of the Vehicle Operations quality manual. Don Riker sold the concept to senior leadership. Carlos Filio translated it into Spanish for our Mexican plants. A PO was approved for 100,000 pocket guides.
The story continues. One by one, other Ford activities adopted the pocket guide…and soon it was global! I found nine versions in a hanging file. I am sure there were more.
And the 31 plants were registered in only 21 months…whew!
Great mementos, to be sure.