The US Department of Defense cites several risks that affect a shipbuilder’s ability to deliver quality products. Major risks include supplier issues, unstable product demand, capacity shortfalls and lack of workforce skills. An effective quality management system can help reduce risk to an organization and significantly increase efficiencies.
Given the complex nature of shipbuilding, quality should remain at the forefront of a shipbuilder’s overall strategy. Most shipbuilders are both manufacturers and assemblers. In addition to ensuring that all manufactured products meet quality standards, shipbuilders must concern themselves with the quality of the components that come from their supply chain.
Shipbuilders must adhere to strict industry standards. An effective quality management system can manage Tier 1, 2 & 3 suppliers, including their subs. This is an important consideration as ERP systems typically do not provide for tracking of subcontractors. Real-time data exchange for supplier corrective actions, documents, nonconformances, delegated inspections, surveys and audits greatly improves collaboration with suppliers and leads to higher quality products. Supplier performance data can be used to improve the cost of supplier quality. Managers can also view such supplier management details as approval status or special process approvals.
Unstable Product Demand
If quality is proactively managed, inconsistencies in demand should not affect the production schedule or final product outcome. With a firm quality process in place, costs can be contained and operations can resume without experiencing production shortfalls.
The lack of steady funding for ship maintenance and modernization has an impact on shipbuilding capacity. Operations must remain at peak performance levels in order to maximize budgets. Aging equipment and lack of workforce skills can cause initial cost estimates and timelines to slide. An effective quality management solution can automate the tracking of equipment and maintain and accurate database of job training, machinery, process and industry skills. Reminders can be sent when expiration dates approach and employees with expired training can be restricted from performing tasks.
Quality Management Solution for Shipbuilders
Shipbuilders can take advantage of an effective quality management solution to manage the CAPA process, nonconformances, receiving inspections and quality audits. A system will allow for the test and capture of defects through the entire product lifecycle. Without this functionality, components are certainly susceptible to failure. All artifacts that support “As Built” vs. ERP standard builds can be recorded within the software to ease audit concerns.
An integrated shop floor quality solution can help shipbuilders achieve a paperless shop floor. Real-time quality data can be synced with manufacturing data for a true picture of the enterprise. Redundant data entry and manual processes are eliminated, while an online repository of essential quality documents is automatically created.
Today’s shipbuilders face many challenges and uncertainties. With a system in place to effectively manage quality, they are able to establish a competitive edge. The cost of quality is lowered through less scrap, rework and warranty recalls. Using quality software automation, industry compliance and full inspections can be achieved.
TIP Technologies works with several leading shipbuilding companies to effectively manage quality operations. Contact TIP Technologies today for a demo of our fully integrated TIPQA Quality Management Solution.