Increase Quality to Reduce Lifecycle Costs for Serial Automotive Parts

As a buyer of non-ferrous serial automotive parts you need to acquire the highest quality product at the lowest possible cost. Your supplier will most likely be certified to the IATF 16949 automotive standard, which requires continuous quality improvement. 

But how can higher quality parts actually minimize your total cost of ownership when calculating lifecycle costs?


Quality production processes reduce costs

The IATF certification guarantees that a supplier already has the tools, systems, and processes in place that will enable them to take your part from design to development and into series production, while catching any failures before they become an issue.

Within the IATF 16949 manual, five core tools are used to ensure your supplier can (re)produce parts with the least amount of risk that the process could lead to product defects.

The core tools include:

  1. APQP (Advanced Product Quality Planning)
    APQP is a structured approach for designing and developing products with the help of the other four core tools. The focus is mainly on development because in the final stage this must provide a stable and controllable production process with an error-free product as output. During this process, the risks must be eliminated or controlled as much as possible. An important aspect is that the APQP process is supported by a multidisciplinary production team. In addition to the input of the team, it is of utmost importance to also involve the customer in the process since they have specific wishes (customer specific requirements). The customer must provide additional input that is crucial for the producer.

  2. FMEA (Failure mode & Effect Analyses)
    Within the FMEA, two different types can be distinguished. Following is a brief explanation of both:
    • Design FMEA
      In the DFMEA process, all risks within the design are analyzed and where necessary split into different components. Among other things, the tool checks for cooperating systems or parts that also need attention. When the DFMEA is complete, the design is frozen.
    • Process FMEA
      The various risks within the production process are analyzed within the PFMEA. This detects potential errors in the process and detects and eliminates them early.

  3. SPC (Statistical Process Control)
    The SPC looks at the critical aspects within the production processes and how they are controlled. Buyers demand certain tolerances and want to see how suppliers can control these in their process. A Process Control Plan is drawn up which indicates the critical factors that must be controlled. The plan describes how each factor will be checked, how often, by whom, and what to do if deviations occur. 

  4. MSA (Measurement System Analysis)
    The MSA is drawn up to ensure that what a supplier has described in their control plan (what will be measured and with which tools, etc.), will produce parts that meet the requirements. This MSA establishes that the equipment used is suitable and correct for the measurements in question. Because each piece of measuring equipment has its own tolerance, the MSA looks at the deviations of the tools themselves and what deviations this could cause in the parts. An MSA has the same function as determining whether a sample is valid. It answers the questions: Am I measuring what I want to measure, how reliable is that measurement and is the outcome reproducible, and how accurate and precise is the measurement? 

  5. PPAP (Production Part Approval Process)
    PPAP is the last phase of the development process. By sending the first parts a supplier produces along with PPAP documentation to the customer, the manufacturer indicates that they can control all facets of the production process. The parts, together with the documents, prove that the product meets the customer's requirements and that it can be produced with the least risk.


Quality and the true cost of ownership

When calculating the lifecycle cost of your part, large pieces of equipment are typically amortized over many years, with the costs passed on to you in the form of an hourly rate. However, the true cost of a part may vary later in the lifecycle as worn tooling or dies require reworking or replacement to maintain the highest part quality. By providing your supplier with accurate volume projections year over year, they can more precisely calculate the cost of servicing or replacing dies through the life of the contract.

Continuous improvements mean lifecycle cost savings 

Since the value of the alloy itself is subject to market pricing, the material price component for your part is determined and fixed on a daily material rate. However, the added value costs of a part, including production, shipping, surface treatment, and profit margin, can be predicted more accurately.

By following and regularly updating their Process Control Plan using the five Control Tools, your serial parts supplier will be able to improve their processes over time. In this way, quality controls implemented by your supplier result in the highest quality products with zero defects at the lowest possible price.

Lifecycle cost is just one of 10 crucial cost drivers that you need to understand in order to acquire the highest quality product at the lowest possible fee. Download this free white paper to find out how higher quality parts and manufacturing processes can actually reduce your total cost of ownership by maximizing efficiency and minimizing risk.
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About Bons & Evers

Our BE | Group companies have over 75 years of experience with hot forging of metals. Our success record serving high-profile clients in the automotive industry demonstrates our understanding of the requirements for this business field. Through our expertise in research and development, we can transform design concepts quickly and efficiently into products that can be made under serial manufacturing conditions at the highest quality for the lowest possible cost.
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