MOLDMAKING REPORT: TE Supplement’s R&M clause causing headaches
Moldmakers that have met the North American automakers' demands for registration to the QS-9000 quality management system with the TE Supplement are finding more headaches than rewards for their dilig...
September 1, 2001 by Canadian Plastics
Moldmakers that have met the North American automakers’ demands for registration to the QS-9000 quality management system with the TE Supplement are finding more headaches than rewards for their diligence. Several have expressed frustration and irritation that the same automakers which mandated compliance with QS-9000 TE Supplement are not insisting that suppliers be registered. As well, TE-compliant moldmakers are having difficulty getting automotive customers to supply the reliability and maintainability data the quality system requires.
Max Boyachek of Lamko Tool & Mould Inc. (London, ON) reports that only two out of his company’s six major customers are providing acceptable data for the R&M requirement. “The idea is to get feedback from users to improve our process, so we work with the ones that do cooperate. With others, we are limping along.”
Randy Fotheringham, quality systems manager with Active-Burgess Mould & Design (Windsor, ON), struggles with a similar lack of cooperation. “Some clients have no problem providing data, other just don’t do it. In between, there are some that just provide their maintenance records and leave us to spend hours deciphering the information.”
Unfortunately for TE-compliant moldmakers, uncooperative customers jeopardize the moldmaker’s status as a QS-9000 registered supplier. The TE Supplement stipulates that R&M data be collected, and it comes under scrutiny with each audit by a quality system registrar.
Some mold shops are estimating numbers in order to attempt meeting the R&M requirements, according to a QA person at a large Windsor-based shop.
Recognizing that the collection of R&M data requires customer cooperation, some auditors appear to be accepting that reasonable efforts by moldmakers to collect the information constitutes compliance with the TE Supplement requirements.
“The registrars recognize the fact that there is limited co-operation in customeers supplying R&M data and typically during an audit are looking more for the evidence we are requesting the data rather than actually what we do with the data we have,” says the Windsor shop’s QA person.
Amid the frustration, there is hope. “The information we are getting back is useful,” says Boyachek. “We’ve had several meetings to review it. And we are getting more cooperation now than before.”
Fotheringham believes the initiative to cooperate must come from the top, from the same source as the mandate to adopt QS-9000 — the Big Three. “There’s an ingrained mindset right now — if the Big Three don’t bother with QS-9000 TE, why should we? I think if the Big Three could support the TE requirements it could spread right across the board.”