Dana Drives Quality With LiveSource
Visibility from Integrated Supplier Data Helps Dana Know What’s Coming
Dana is a world-leading provider of power-conveyance and energy-management solutions that improve the efficiency, performance, and sustainability of light vehicles, commercial vehicles, and off-highway equipment. Founded in 1904, Dana is based in Maumee, Ohio, USA, and employs more than 36,000 people at locations in 33 countries across six continents.
From axles, driveshafts, and transmissions to electrodynamic, thermal, sealing, and digital solutions, Dana supplies nearly every vehicle and engine manufacturer. These manufacturers and their suppliers are subject to rigorous standards, addressing safety, reliability and durability, the environment, and manufacturing. Quality management standards specify a focus on continual improvement as well as preventing defects, variation, and waste. Dana must adhere to these requirements internally as well as enforce them with its thousands of suppliers worldwide.
There was no native interoperability between systems, and no global data or visibility of suppliers.
Dana struggled with a decentralized approach to quality management, a critical part of product launch. Business units used different systems for nonconformities, imposed varying requirements on suppliers, and maintained separate data in quality systems that were often developed in-house. Forty percent of the organization relied on an unsupported solution that was more than 20 years old, and the rest of the company kept data in spreadsheets, documents, email attachments, and other online and offline systems. Much of the data was subject to manual input, opening the door to errors.
Redundancy was a major problem, as were the wasted resources associated with each facility developing and operating its own system. For example, one supplier working with three different Dana plants – a common situation – could be defined in three different ways. It was difficult, if not impossible, to share suppliers’ performance-related information throughout the company or address shortcomings in a meaningful way.
As a result, there was no native interoperability between systems, and no global data or visibility of suppliers. Further, the differing quality criteria, corrective action approaches, and problem-solving methodologies were frustrating and time consuming for external suppliers. Dana’s Global Quality Systems team knew that timely action was required.
“In less than a year’s time, we went from a system that took care of 40% of our plants to a comprehensive system that takes care of 100% of plants.”
Dana looked to LiveSource for a tool that could help the organization implement corrective strategies globally: a common corrective action tool for nonconformity that could be used by all Dana business units for all of its suppliers. Key to the project was development of a highly-configurable 8D solution, so Dana could design its own templates and workflows.
Underlying Dana’s LiveSource system is a centralized master data structure. Every supplier-related input relates back to a single master supplier profile that identifies a specific address, code, key contact people and other important data elements, giving Dana the global visibility it sought.
Gregg Alling, Senior Manager of Quality Systems, noted: “With LiveSource’s help, we designed the workflow, the process and how we wanted the system to function. We did trials with some of our plants and got everything finalized internally. In less than a year’s time, we went from a system that took care of 40 percent of our plants to a comprehensive system that takes care of 100 percent of plants. Besides delivering a more efficient, consistent approach for managing corrective action, supplier assessment and auditing, the company as a whole spends less time and fewer resources on nonconformity issues. We’ve eliminated much of the redundancy.”
The nonconformity system was just the beginning. Dana is leveraging LiveSource to drive quality performance across its entire organization. Dana is also able to better manage its quality system requirements for ISO and IATF quality standards; it has implemented tooling, contract, IPR, and certificate management. Additionally, Dana rolled out an online supplier PPAP solution and an APQP system for online advanced product quality planning.
Alling explained, “LiveSource uses a clean data structure that allows them to access fields easily and send the associated data wherever it is needed. So, when our supplier development group wanted to connect the LiveSource corrective action system and an internal supplier rating system, it was easily done within six months of requirements definition. Defect data are pulled directly from the supplier corrective action documents to calculate parts per million, eliminating this component of manual data entry across the globe.”
“We can see all the supplier quality issues that are happening anywhere in the world,” explains Alling. “And, we can look at a particular supplier and see all the different quality issues it might have at different plants.”
LiveSource is powering a more efficient, consistent approach with centralized master supplier data, certifications, audit results, scoring, evaluations, and rejections. To date, Dana has retired 10 standalone systems with LiveSource; the company has integrated 8 new companies over the past two years, each fully operational with LiveSource in less than a month. It now has a single master address book for all of its 3500 supplier locations, and LiveSource has introduced efficiencies allowing Dana to reduce its supplier base by more than 50%. Its rich transactional data is managed centrally and integrated with its Enterprise Data Warehouse, powering improved business intelligence reporting and dashboards. This improved visibility into its supplier data lets Dana know what’s coming and mitigate any potential disruptions or quality issues.
“We can see all the supplier quality issues that are happening anywhere in the world,” explains Alling. “And, we can look at a particular supplier and see all the different quality issues it might have at different plants. LiveSource gives us the ability to look at the big picture. We can see a supplier’s certifications, audit results, scores, evaluations and rejections in one system with a few clicks.”
“All in all the implementation went as smoothly as an effort on this scale could go,” continued Alling. “Remember, we were concurrently changing all of the systems that thousands of external suppliers used as well as the way 100 Dana plants generated corrective action requests. LiveSource was excellent to work with: cooperative, collaborative, capable and responsive. The system’s flexibility was impressive, allowing us to configure things the way we wanted them to work.”
Alling characterized LiveSource’s customer support and service as very good. “They have regional reps who are available in all the time zones and regions we’re in. Our plants can contact them whenever they have a question or issue. And, LiveSource is more than willing to work with our external suppliers. They offer published training materials and conduct online sessions. They monitor problems and usage and follow up on a regular basis. They function more like a partner than a vendor.”
Dana now has increased visibility into its suppliers as it strives to optimize and maintain quality management throughout product launch. With LiveSource, Dana truly knows what’s coming.