October 19, 2017

Lean Manufacturing Secrets Apple Has Already Figured Out

lean manufacturing apple iphone

If you’re company has developed a new product it intends to manufacture and sell, many startups choose the lean manufacturing, specifically contract manufacturing route.  This alleviates some stress in having to setup a facility, tooling, etc.  Some of the top high-velocity contract manufacturers include Foxconn, Jabil, Flextronics, and Pegatron.

When designing products or choosing OEM products, the following key points must be considered by the engineering teams in order to ensure success with our manufacturing partners.

Every step is to be taken so that defects can be detected before they move to the next step within the manufacturing process (from incoming inspections of raw materials to shipping finished-goods).

For example, in the spirit of lean manufacturing, means of detecting the following types of defects should also be considered in the data collection plan at the NPI (New Product Introduction) stage going to MR (Mass Run):

  1. Processing errors
  2. Error in setting up job
  3. Processing omissions
  4. Assembly omissions (missing parts)
  5. Inclusion of incorrect component
  6. Incorrect job
  7. Operation error
  8. Tool or equipment error
  9. Defects in job components
  10. Measurement error

Also, the quality screening process must be finalized prior to NPI.  Will all units will be tested or will there be a sampling plan put in place?  Regardless, units failing tests should be considered defective and be reworked.

The following points are crucial to our success when considering a manufacturing partner:

  1. The manufacturing partner must have a formal quality management system in place (ISO 9001, ISO 14000, Six Sigma DMAIC, Lean Manufacturing, etc.)
  2. Supplier qualification process should be transparent
  3. Incoming inspection of raw materials
  4. Visual inspections of finished products
  5. Tightening, fastening, and other assembly SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) criteria needs final sign-off
  6. Safety and Performance of finished products as well as manufacturing activities
  7. Consistency of finished products
  8. Statistical reporting – Yield reports must be provided regularly in order to optimize the manufacturing process
  9. The partner must have a formal non-conformance, quarantining, and containment procedure

Lean Manufacturing Secrets Apple Has Already Figured Out

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