Original Date: 04/28/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Embedded Quality Systems
As the result of a government audit in 1985, Lockheed Martin Electronics and Missiles (E&M) developed a Total Quality Management (TQM) plan that has evolved into today’s Embedded Quality Systems Plan. This plan focuses on those system elements and processes required to provide assurance that products and services meet the requirements of the customer. The program has been very successful and since 1989, there have been no government audit deficiencies.
Lockheed Martin previously had the typical hidden factory where products were reworked to meet the requirements, and problems causing the nonconformances were never addressed other than with band-aid style quick fixes. Quality was inspected-in instead of Lockheed Martin developing quality processes, resulting in millions of dollars worth of scrap. The 1985 audit identified deficiencies that served to alert Lockheed Martin that action must be taken to correct the situation immediately. A number of actions were implemented including establishment of Performance Management Teams (PMTs), in-house application of statistical process control, and a strong compliance audit function.
The key elements of Embedded Quality Systems Plan address those areas highlighted during the audit and include:
Achieving ISO 9001 registration Implementing Production Process Validation
Developing and implementing a system audit program
Establishing a Preventive Action Board
Achieving Software Engineering Institute Level 3 certification
Developing Best Practices Guidelines.
ISO 9001 certification was received in December 1994. The assessment, performed by BSI-QA, gave Lockheed Martin E&M international registration and allowed the company to compete worldwide. This certification has prompted Lockheed Martin to take an innovative look at processes and practices instead of the MIL-Q-9858A way.
The Production Process Validation changes the role of the inspectors from checking hardware to monitoring processes. The manufacturing operator is responsible for hardware quality. The keys to Production Process Validation are SPC training, gauges and tools, matched and coordinated acceptance tools, pin-up fixtures, and use of SPC data output from coordinate measuring machines. The inspectors monitor the manufacturing processes (MPs) instead of functioning as end-of-the-line inspectors -- they are now part of the corrective action process. The inspectors audit the SPC stations for process control. The actual hardware inspection is only performed on a sample basis. The lessons learned in the implementation of Production Process Validation show that the operation must be a continuous sequence or have repeated process operations for multiple part numbers; the size of the area must be manageable; defined inspection plans and requirements must exist; a strong PMT must be in place; a corrective action system must be established; and SPC must be used to control the processes. Every area where Production Process Validation was implemented has shown an increase in the quality level.
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