Stakeholders identified product quality as one of the key elements within the capital goods sector, emphasizing the impact of inefficiencies on the perception of both product quality and reliability. Furthermore, product safety and quality are clearly considered as priorities, to avoid product recall and reputational damage and to improve competitiveness. In order to overcome inefficiencies, stakeholders suggested assessing the manufacturing process through quality control and specific key performance indicators (KPIs).
Product Quality Control at CNH Industrial cuts across all Company departments and business segments and impacts all stages of the product's life, from conception to after-sales management. An effective quality system helps to improve product behavior and performance during usage to maximize customer uptime expectations in the field, and is an important factor to drive customer loyalty and increase the Company’s competitiveness. At CNH Industrial, the robustness of the quality process is supported by the adoption of a quality system compliant with standards such as ISO 9001 or ISO TS16949, aiming to ensure and drive the continuous improvement of processes, products, and services through clear targets, responsibilities, and monitoring indicators (KPIs).
Activities concerning quality are overseen by the Quality and Product Support function, led by the Chief Quality Officer, permanent member of the Group Executive Council. The function’s mission is to:
- ensure product quality throughout the entire product life cycle
- maximize the input of qualitative knowledge of product behavior into new product development processes (proactive approach)
- drive consistency of quality processes and methodologies across all brands and Regions
- optimize results, improving efficiency and speed in providing end user support to meet customers’ quality expectations.
PRODUCT QUALITY LIFE-CYCLE PROCESSES
The Quality function sees that all quality aspects are built into the product life-cycle, with a focus on:
- New Product Quality - by supporting new product development phases through a proactive problem prevention approach
- Current Product Quality - by monitoring product behavior in the field and defining priorities that support solution development and enable verifying efficiency
- Supplier Quality - by ensuring the flawless launch, seamless production, and quality excellence of purchased components
- Manufacturing Quality - by setting quality targets based on benchmarking and performing end-of-line audits from a customer perspective
- Quality Systems - by ensuring central coordination, operational execution, and monitoring through the established methodology standards of the Company’s quality management system.
Responsibility is shared across Production, Manufacturing Engineering, Quality, Purchasing, and other brand functions, to ensure the intrinsic quality of all product-related processes while promoting process improvements, flawless execution, problem solving, and decision making.
In addition, Quality Control is one of the ten technical pillars of World Class Manufacturing (see also page 166), whose objective is to maintain high quality standards throughout manufacturing processes. The pillar focuses on achieving Zero Defects, through quality root cause analysis, countermeasures, and performance checks to then standardize and expand improvements throughout the production process.
Quality control is based on the ability to monitor and measure key quality performance indicators of the production process. The Quality Assurance Matrix is one of the tools available to guide the process of identifying the most critical areas of improvement. A detected defect is proactively removed from the next process step.
One of the main KPIs monitored consists of Customer Quality Audit results, based on the testing performed during the product validation process to validate customer usability. Another important source of information is the Pre-Delivery Inspection procedure, carried out prior to vehicle registration to ensure the customer receives a quality-assured product.
CURRENT PRODUCT MANAGEMENT
Global Product Development (see also page 146) ends with the achievement of the Ok to Ship milestone, which authorizes the shipment of finished products to sales and service networks. The first few months thereafter are known as the Early Warning phase, in which a specific team is appointed to focus on and quickly assess product performance by collecting feedback from the service network and internal support functions, in order to implement required improvements quickly and effectively. After this initial period, the product is considered as current and its quality control and performance monitoring continues under the responsibility of the Current Product Management (CPM) process.
CURRENT PRODUCT MANAGEMENT PROCESS
At CNH Industrial, CPM is a systematic business process designed to maintain and improve the product throughout its full production life. The CPM team includes representatives from Quality, Engineering, Parts, Purchasing, Manufacturing and Brand Service, providing resources and expertise. The team has the responsibility to review all product information channeled to CPM from various sources such as: customer visits, dealer reports transmitted via product support tools, warranty claims information, and quality reports from manufacturing units and suppliers. Any product issue reported is analyzed and managed systematically in order to supply speedy technical resolutions to the production platforms to improve product design or fine-tune assembly methods, so as to meet customer needs and prevent any issue recurrence. The process is tracked through ad hoc tools.
The steps to resolve issues are in line with the industry’s standard problem-solving process, and can be summarized as follows: secure a clear issue statement, confirm ranking and root cause, develop and validate a solution and finally, implement the solution on new models at the factory, as well as develop a service solution, if needed.
The main performance indicators for CPM are Time to Fix (speed of resolution) and No Post-Fix Issues (solution effectiveness).
Resolution feedback is promptly provided to dealers through structured communication channels, to enable them to fully support customers using the product in the field. The customers’ perception of quality is also monitored through recognized tools such as VQS and HTS Surveys (T&B) and internally-driven Quality Tracking surveys.
The decision to launch a recall campaign, also known as a Product Improvement Program (PIP), is made by the CPM team, considering both technical factors and the impact on customers. The CPM team evaluates the safety aspects of every PIP by using methods such as the Safety Risk Assessment tool. Based on the index obtained, the CPM team defines whether to launch a specific safety recall campaign. Once a recall campaign has been approved and prepared for launch, it is released to the network via the Quality and Product Support structure that, together with Brand Service and Parts and Service, ensures a rapid completion to minimize customer impact and to maximize customer vehicle availability.
The central Quality function coordinates the implementation of recall campaigns. When the need for a recall campaign has been identified, the functions that interact directly with customers are engaged, including the various brand managers and dealers. During recall campaigns that require vehicle repair, CNH Industrial utilizes different programs to inform customers through various channels on the interventions involving their vehicles.
The Best Service Program, for example, is a tool for managing campaigns that are particularly sensitive due to the Region or product type. The program offers centralized support to dealers and other commercial entities, and fosters customer loyalty by reducing vehicle downtime at repair shops. A central call center coordinates activities and keeps both customers and dealers informed while ensuring spare parts are supplied as promptly as possible.
NUMBER OF RECALL CAMPAIGNS (PIPS)
|CNH INDUSTRIAL WORLDWIDE (no.)||2014||2013||2012|
2014 RECALL CAMPAIGNS (PIPS)
|2014||Mandatory campaigns||Safety campaigns||Total|
|Agricultural Equipment products||64||5||69|
|of which units involved||52,725||6,630||59,355|
|Construction Equipment products||30||1||31|
|of which units involved||13,793||195||13,988|
|Commercial Vehicles products||61||9||70|
|of which units involved||127,419||28,237||155,656|
Ensuring CNH Industrial customers safe and reliable products is a key aspect for the Company, so much so that the Quality Control System process includes a Reporting Procedure for Product Safety Problems that enables both the service network and all employees to report any product safety issues found. In a dedicated section on the Corporate Intranet, employees can report incidents involving one of the Company’s brand products. The reports received are analyzed by the CPM team in line with the CPM process. In addition, to speed up the reporting of potential safety problems, the service network is provided with appropriate Incident Reporting Guidelines.