Bally Ribbon Mills has effectively embraced the Six Sigma methodology for improved productivity, efficiency and cost savings which allows us to better serve the needs of our customers
The central principle of Six Sigma is that data can be used to drive manufacturing to achieve at least six standard deviations between the mean and the nearest specification limit; in other words, to produce no more than 3.4 defects outside of customer specifications in each one million products.
Given the highly critical nature of BRM’s products, we deliver quality to meet industry standards including ISO 9001, AS 9100, and ISO 13485, plus MIL-I-45208 and MIL-Q-9858 for military products. We began experimenting with Six Sigma (6∑) by sending one employee for training. As a direct result, that individual worked on a project that saw a 77% decrease in waste in the production of a single item, and BRM chose to implement the methodology throughout our manufacturing.
After an additional two employees were trained as Six Sigma Black Belts, the company saw a 30% reduction in overall waste during the first two years of the program. We then decided to expand the program with training for additional team members, allowing us to distribute trained individuals across functional areas and industry focuses, so that the quality assurance (QA) program has both a broader impact across the company and a more targeted impact within individual sectors. Currently, BRM is training and adding more certified persons each year to the program.
The greatest impact of implementing 6∑ methodology has been the improvements in data collection and analysis. Using 6∑ statistical tools and methodology, our well-trained QA team can use the same data that most manufacturing facilities already collect and get to a better confidence level, lower material use, less waste, lower lead times, and reduced overproduction compared with other QA methodologies. Now, the QA teams work alongside the design and manufacturing teams to design new machine setups and more precise production from the very beginning. One project has reduced rejections by 80%, and another reduced the internal rejection rate by 92%.
The 6∑ methodology had provided both BRM and our customers with better tools to work together while using the same language for goals and the process of achieving them. Customers are now able to discuss product developments via electronic communications, as our experts work on product development and quality management.
Additionally, the 6∑ QA efforts have reduced cost for customers due to greater manufacturing efficiency and greater confidence in tolerances such as thickness, weight, and tensile strength. 6∑ methodology has also enabled some BRM customers to achieve tighter tolerances for materials and design. BRM customers can have greater confidence in the products they receive from initial production runs, and can thus design their final products to be closer to their ultimate goals.
To learn more about BRM’s quality assurance and how it can benefit your product, contact us.