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Inadequate Problem Solving Tops the List of Automakers’ Quality Concerns

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AIAG’s Quality 2020 study identifies automotive pain-points related to problem solving and finds that more than half the industry sees significant risk if problem solving skills aren’t improved to where they need to be — and fast.

AIAG’s new Quality 2020 study finds that OEMs and suppliers both rank problem solving as one of the two most critical issues impacting quality. (The other top concern is customer-specific requirements.)

The survey upon which the study is based was conducted by the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) in collaboration with Deloitte Consulting LLP and released as a free downloadable white paper on June 10, 2015.

In fact, the study states that over one-third of respondents felt there is significant potential for improvement in problem solving, an area deemed important by respondents because it impacts the organization’s ability to: 

  •          Manage, monitor, and respond to quality-related events
  •          Implement operations efficiencies
  •          Maintain brand image and good customer relationships

Showing further solidarity on the issue of problem solving, OEMs and suppliers participants identify the same four reasons that they believe the industry’s problem solving capabilities are inadequate (although they rank them in a different order of importance):

(1)   Root cause analysis is lacking

(2)   Management/organizational culture

(3)   Feeling rushed

(4)   Jumping to the solution

Interestingly, jumping to the solution is the OEMs’ top reason for inadequate problem solving, while suppliers rank that as having the least impact.

Particularly intriguing is that almost two-thirds of respondents feel their organizations are, at best, moderately capable at problem solving. “The fact that the majority of survey respondents describe themselves as only moderately capable at problem solving is interesting and concerning,” says David Kneisler, vice president, global quality for Dana Holding Corporation and chairman of the AIAG board of directors. “That being said, if we can prevent it in the first place, that is the preferred outcome.”

More than half see significant risk if no action is taken to close the gap between where the industry is today versus where the industry should be in problem solving. About 95 percent of respondents believe closing the gap in problem solving would have a moderate to extremely high impact on quality.

Quality 2020 uses the survey data to identify needed improvements, with the goal of putting them in place by 2017 and then measuring the results of this industry-wide quality initiative by 2020. “Quality 2020 is an illumination of where the industry needs to take action, improvements only possible if automotive companies are willing to put resources behind the plan, get engaged, and address the concerns,” says J. Scot Sharland, AIAG’s executive director.

For more information on how you can get involved in AIAG’s quality-related initiatives, visit www.aiag.org or contact Karen Whitmore at kwhitmore@aiag.org.

Also, don’t miss the 2015 Quality Summit, Sept. 22-23, 2015 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan. 

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