From Automotive to Aerospace: Key Cross-Industry Learnings on Quality Management


July 14, 2016

What is quality management? 

Quality management ensures that products or services are consistent and conform to approved standards across key areas including planning, control, assurance and improvement. Quality management not only monitors product and service quality, but also assesses and examines the associated processes.  It’s a big deal in every every industry – from automotive to aerospace.

Why the need for better quality management in the automotive industry – and why now?

Quality is a key competitive differentiator, a fact that is especially true in the automotive industry, where global operations and cost pressures have pushed automakers and their suppliers towards large, extended sourcing and supply chain operations. At the same time, however, compliance and regulations have been increasing. and the industry has moved into the digital world, a place where social media and viral communications leave little room for errors or missteps in quality.  All these factors result in an increasing demand for flexible, upgraded management systems that can automate field-level quality management tasks and provide real-time monitoring and transparency.

So when it comes to quality management, what are some of the key learnings and benefits we can take away from the automotive industry?

  • Fewer errors, better margins. In short, quality management in the automotive industry helps manufacturing companies automate their internal quality control processes. This gives them the ability to error-proof their operations to save time and headcount, which provides customers with high-quality products that don’t sacrifice margins.
  • Recalls are a solvable problem. The use of a quality audit software system helps ensure compliance with QS9000, TS16949, and other manufacturing work standards and regulations, enabling automotive manufacturers to shift from isolated compliance initiatives to integrated enterprise-wide governance. This minimizes the risks and impacts of recall batches and enhances supplier quality performance.
  • Achieve competitive superiority. Quality management software systems can drive companies ahead of the competition, especially in the automotive industry. With appropriate solutions, a quality audit software system accelerates product development and time-to-market by obtaining real-time access into the quality management process and all of its important metrics. Moreover, by developing operational efficiencies in quality systems, companies can reduce internal costs and other costs associated with production downtimes and warranty issues. Ultimately, the right tool can enhance brand image and create a loyal customer base, since potential quality issues can be detected and addressed in a predictable and timely manner. Quality management as a competitive advantage is attainable with the right culture, system, and technology.

Understanding the Influence of the Automotive Industry on Aerospace Quality Management

As in automotive markets, product safety and reliability is paramount in the aerospace industry.  In fact, the aerospace has adopted many well-established ideas, practices, and quality audit software solutions from the automotive industry, borrowing from those lessons to drive future progress as the aerospace industry goes through it’s own era of rapid technological advancement.

This cross-industry convergence is evident in many cases today. For example:

  • Root cause analysis diagrams such as the Ishikawa fish-bone diagram, which originated in shipbuilding and was quickly adopted across much of the automotive industry, are now common across many industries.
  • Airbus utilizes a form of “8D analysis”, pioneered by Ford, in order to investigate causes and create follow-up action plans for quality incidents.

Moving forward, we continue to come across numerous examples where companies use successful quality management solutions from automotive manufacturers. Specifically, in 2015, Airbus Helicopters decided to deploy an automotive quality claims management solution which was directly linked to its ERP.

Where does Ease fit in?  

Ease is a leading provider of process management software that can help organizations establish a robust SQM program and achieve operational excellence. EASE, our powerful, yet easy-to-use cloud-based platform helps manufacturers and service providers slash administrative overhead and deliver immediate insight to help organizations gain transparency and improve quality and process performance. Beacon dramatically lowers the true cost of quality. At the same time, it supports supplier quality management, as it gives real-time insight into a suppliers’ quality at any time. This platform improves audit integrity, identifies problems early, and supports visual standards to easily communicate “good” from “not good enough” or to clearly capture proof of performance. The audit management platform also provides automatic corrective action follow-ups, alerting your organization with quick and accurate results.  Feel free to schedule a trial if you’d like to see it in action for yourself!