As Master Power Transmission increased the throughput of finished goods, Torrance McClellan discovered a weak link. He quickly discerned that the company needed to move product through receiving and inspection faster. Since his arrival 18 months ago, today 97% of products are inspected and put away within 48 hours.
“We have metrics throughout the plant and each department operates on the ‘Faster at Master’ theme,” said McClellan, quality manager at Master PT. “We are focused on being lean. Being a smaller company, it forces us to be on the lookout for continuous improvement issues.”
The quicker Master PT can have products inspected and placed into inventory, the faster customer service representatives can confirm a part or unit can be shipped immediately or within 48 hours. Having the product inspected and put away streamlines the entire customer experience. Plus, identifying current and new suppliers who can meet Master’s quality standards is also key, McClellan said.
McClellan discovered Master PT had a workforce that had great knowledge, but it wasn’t truly documented. McClellan saw the need for enhanced visualization. All new work instructions at Master PT now have pictures with documentations so anyone can move into a cell and know how to operate.
“We now have the documentation and the processes in place so an operator on the floor doesn’t have to go to a supervisor or manager to say, ‘Am I doing this right?’ They have the procedures and work instructions in place so they can get their work done in a timely manner,” he said.
McClellan admits it was a culture shock coming into Master PT, but the family-oriented atmosphere proved to be most valuable in managing process improvements. Everyone works with great passion and pride and gives input on how to make things better, he said.
Master PT as a small manufacturer is an advantage, he said.
“I always tell people if we don’t fix it here, no one else will fix it,” McClellan added. “There’s no corporation that’s going to take care of it for us.”
As a percentage of sales, the industry standard for warranty returns is 1.5%. According to McClellan, Master PT’s warranty return rate is 0.08%. It makes his job very easy, he said.
Earlier this year Master PT again successfully completed an annual surveillance audit for ISO 9001:2008. It will undergo a recertification review in January 2014.