SAIC Motor Technical Centre (SMTC UK), the sister company to MG Motor, has adopted Design for Six Sigma (DFSS), at its Longbridge facility in Birmingham, confirming its commitment to a continuous quality improvement philosophy.
The automotive industry has seen huge benefits through Six Sigma over many years and it continues to play a key role in the continuous improvement strategy for many OEMs and those working in the supply chain.
Several senior managers at SMTC had previous experience of working with Six Sigma to improve processes and solve problems. They saw the opportunity for their relatively young business to apply world-class tools and techniques in a structured and data-driven manner.
Dave Lindley, Managing Director at SMTC-UK said: “We felt that DFSS offered a route and method to improve our business significantly, and being part of a global business, we wanted to develop a programme that could be rolled-out in partnership with our parent company in Shanghai.”
Advocating the benefits of the DFSS method and tools, SMTC-UK worked with its Chinese counterparts to develop a global programme.
One of the primary aims was to become more proactive during the vehicle design process. Dave said: “We’ve got lots of experienced people in the business and we wanted to complement this by embedding a robust data-driven approach”.
In a reactive environment, projects and problems are tackled on an ad-hoc basis and this can lead to misdirected effort and a focus on symptoms instead of root causes. DFSS provides SMTC-UK with a standard toolset that can be used across every project from conception to production. This proactive approach allows innovative and creative new products, to be designed right first time, with minimum cost and minimum lead-time.
A team of more than 250 qualified engineers from SMTC are responsible for the design and development of the MG3 supermini, the new MG GS and other Roewe branded models intended for the domestic market in China. Engineers from SMTC recently welcomed members of the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI), to see how DFSS philosophies had been implemented at Longbridge. Such sharing of best practice is an important part of the SMTC’s culture.
Dave concluded: “We believe DFSS is capable of delivering a shift in the quality of performance, and is one of the tools that will help us achieve our vision to be The Leading Automotive Technical Centre in Europe by 2020.”