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Six Sigma at Ford

Nov 18, 2014



Industrial Engineering Department Shoubra Faculty of Engineering Benha University


Using Six Sigma at Ford

When did it begin?

Fords Six Sigmas Focus

Training for Success

Case Study Application

Pauline Burke, a Master Black Belt, took on a Six Sigma project after identifying a problem with the Ford Focus' body-side moldings. Customers were complaining that the moldings were lifting at the edges. After delving into the DMAIC process, Burke soon realized she was involved in what she refers to as a "mega project," one with multiple root causes and multiple factors. A typical Six Sigma project at Ford takes about four months, but because this project had so many Xfactors, it took Burke and her team nine months to complete.

DefineIn the define phase, we had to figure out exactly what the problem was. What was the customer complaining about and what are the measures? Within the define phase, we analyzed each factor in the plant that could contribute to this problem.

We discovered four factors that contributed to the molding problem. First, the tape on the molding wasn't contacting the car body enough. Second, holes located on the body used to line up the molding were too high and were hitting an indent on the body side. Third, it turned out the pressure we were using to apply the molding was too low. Fourth, the body side was not sufficiently clean, so the tape wasn't sticking as well as it could.

MeasureOnce we figured out the factors that were contributing to the defect, I went to the measure phase. I measured where the holes on the body side were located. I measured how flat the part was and how we could fix the molding to make it flat. I measured the pressure we were using and figured out the optimal pressure. And I measured the percentage of the area that was being cleaned.

AnalyzeOnce all the data had been gathered, we analyzed our results and found the appropriate solution. It took a lot of teamwork--experts from various fields, maintenance personnel, tier one and tier two suppliers and management were all involved.


The solution included moving the holes on the body side down about two millimeters. On the body-side molding, we changed the molds to make sure that it was very flat on the back side so that 100 percent of the tape would contact the flat body side. Next, we figured out the optimum application pressure using design of experiments. Then, we replaced the head on the cleaning fixture to more effectively clean the body side.

ControlChanging the whole location on the body side was a permanent fix, and we continually monitor it in our quality checks. Making sure the molding is flat was something the molding supplier didn't have as a quality check, but now they do. Other quality checks include ensuring the optimum pressure is used to apply the moldings and maintaining the cleaning equipment.

the project has yielded $100,000 in waste elimination savings per year, and there have been no customer complaints with regard to bodyside moldings on the Ford Focus.

Using the new material reduced defects to 129%.

When the project started in June 2001, the original transit film-induced defect rate was 289%, or almost 3 defects per vehicle. The 6 Sigma project team's work led to the following improvements:

Using the new material PLUS adding increased supervision and improved training reduced defects to 103%.

Ford Recommends Six Sigma for Your FutureIt was problems a disciplined approach to solving problems. It provides great fixing for customers and making the company stronger by improving quality. When the employees are happy, they do better work. When they do better work, the customer wins. They're getting a better vehicle, they save money and quality rises.