ABB Flips the Switch
ABB manufactures low-voltage circuit breakers in over 10,000 possible configurations. Products relevant to safety are subject to the highest standards of quality.
The market leader expands its lead
When a market leader wants to further improve the “OK rate” of its products, it’s a high bar to clear. The circuit breakers from the global technology company ABB are used in automated systems and building technology. In these applications, they have to function effectively and flawlessly because they protect personnel and equipment against excess voltage and short circuits, and also play a role in the increasingly important field of energy management. The rising complexity and variety of variants are added challenges. For ABB, quality is a strategic objective and is pursued with a focus that befits its importance. At its plant in Frosinone, Italy, ABB has established a pilot project for world-class quality with the support of Porsche Consulting.
Mixed Teams from Assembly to Management
For strategies to become lived realities, getting employees involved is crucial. Mixed teams from different areas – from final assembly to management – worked in pilot areas to achieve quality improvements in production, product creation and customer service. Later, they were able to handle the rollout and in other areas themselves. Indeed, even beyond the boundaries of the company itself: “Our teams have taken the tools that we learned about in six-week projects in our collaboration with Porsche Consulting and applied them at our suppliers’ locations as well. The aim was not just to achieve a higher quality level, but also to boost productivity,” says ABB manager Andrea Menti.
increase in the “OK rate” was achieved – despite being at a high level already.
From Italy to the Whole World
A successful strategy is defined by concrete results: Just a short time later, the number of customer complaints, which had already been low before that, decreased significantly yet again – by 20 percent. The rate of flawless products, the “OK rate,” actually went up by 40 percent. Italy was just the start – next up was China. Andrea Menti: “We’re rolling out the quality-improvement process worldwide.”