One of Company C's major product lines was suffering from yields < 10% and the product that ended getting shipped had ~ 50% DOA at the customer. After ~ 2 weeks of process and product evaluation, the team recommended to the managing director to shut down the line. Of course this was a very hard decision but the team convinced the company that their current strategy of continuing to start more and more product (beyond the line's capacity) was creating too much confusion as well as other major issues.

The next approximated two weeks were spent evaluating the work in process and interviewing the manufacturing team. At this point the decision was made to re-start the process. One lot at a time was started and all of the old WIP was put on temporary hold until decisions could be made on each lots likelihood of producing useable product. The following is a partial list of the changes that were made:

  • Several new in-process checkpoints were added
  • Several processes were modified based on the inline results
  • Operators received extensive training
  • Increased-engineering support throughout the process
  • Balanced the line throughput
  • Substantial improvements in the equipment maintenance

The ultimate result of these efforts were:

  • Overall yield reached > 90%
  • Customer satisfaction of the product line was recovered
  • More than 50% of the material on-hold was recovered
  • A very stable process

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