Solving Problems With Root Cause Corrective Action

by Liberty Electronics

Solving Problems With Root Cause Corrective Action

When a project goes astray, one of the most important ways to get it back on track is to find out exactly what went wrong. Using supporting data and facts, root cause corrective action (RCCA) is one way to resolve the issue. The RCCA method finds and eliminates the cause of a detected nonconformity, permanently resolving it.

RCCA isn’t about fixing an individual mistake – it’s a series of actions that positively change or modify the system’s performance for the long term. It looks at the big picture and targets the weakest parts of a system that are more likely to cause failure.

Because RCCA aims to make a systemic change, it’s critical to address contributing causes since they could become a future root cause. Ultimately, RCCA can help create better products, gain a competitive advantage and improve customer satisfaction.

Implementing Root Cause Corrective Action

When implementing RCCA and determining potential solutions, there are five factors to consider:

  • Viability: The solution must be compatible with the company’s schedule and resources.
  • Effectiveness: Before choosing a solution, determine whether it will be effective in solving the problem.
  • Team Involvement: Those affected by the problem should be included in the process of formulating the solution.
  • Big Picture: Focus on systemic issues and address problems that affect the entire organization.
  • Contingency Plan: Come up with a plan based on anticipated success and have a backup strategy in mind.

You should also ask questions like:

  • Will the corrective action lower the risk of event recurrence to an acceptable level?
  • Does everyone involved accept the solution?
  • Are there any opposing effects that might make the action unacceptable?
  • Does the corrective action fit within organizational constraints?

Once the action has been implemented, it’s time to evaluate whether it was as effective as expected. Using predefined criteria to measure results will help assess the effectiveness of the RCCA, helping your team solve similar issues in the future.

Ensuring Team Buy-in

One of the most significant considerations when determining the effectiveness of RCCA is how successfully the team worked together toward implementing the solution. The most critical areas of team collaboration are knowledge facilitation and the team’s willingness to challenge assumptions and critically evaluate the direction of the analysis.
Another important factor is the inclusion of leadership and team members from outside the area of focus. Doing so brings a fresh perspective to the root cause analysis, which helps teams think outside of typical patterns to determine the most suitable RCCA.

No matter the complexity of the issues you’re facing, Liberty Electronics®, a relationship-based business, can partner with you to help find solutions for your upcoming programs. With over 35 years of leadership in our field, we specialize in supporting aerospace, defense, rail, transportation and nuclear energy industries by providing products including:

  • Electronic wiring harnesses
  • Box builds
  • Electrical cable assemblies
  • Electrical cabinet assemblies
  • Electrical panel assemblies
  • Electromechanical assemblies

In addition to our dedication to success, quality service and on-time delivery, we’re a relationship-based supplier that values cooperation over competition and are based in Franklin, PA. To build a long-lasting relationship, contact us on our website or via email about working together.

Understanding Insulation Materials

by Liberty Electronics

Insulation materials provide wiring harnesses with a layer of necessary protection in a variety of ways, depending on the specific requirements the product must meet. Insulation helps protect the product mechanically, electrically, or environmentally, meeting particular needs according to the product’s application. Additionally, a variety of materials used in wiring harness insulation ensure the various functions of cable harnesses are carried out in the best way possible using the best materials for the job.

Insulation designed for mechanical protection ensures wiring harnesses will hold up well against wear and tear. This type of insulation will either be very flexible or very rigid depending on the needs of the assembly, and will often be resistant to extreme temperatures. Teflon is commonly used for these applications due to its durability and resistance to extreme temperature.

Electrical protection assists wire bundles in being more effective in their purpose. This includes equipping the product to carry the necessary voltage, or insulating specific wires from the electrical current of surrounding wires. The thicker the insulation material, the higher the voltage rating the assembly will have and more capable the wires will be to carry high currents of electricity.

Insulation from the environment will protect the product from outside damage, reducing the possibility of water, microorganisms, or heavy chemicals compromising the effectiveness of a wiring assembly. Neoprene is often used in these cases where damage from biological factors is possible.

Depending on the function of the wiring harnesses and the needs of the client, a variety of materials can be used for insulation purposes. Coverings made from high end polymers, silicone, FEP, XLPE, and PTFE materials are often used in aircraft and spacecraft applications because of their durability and lighter weight. These more rare and expensive materials are crucial in assemblies that must decrease as much weight as possible in the finished product.

By contrast, some more common materials like PVC, neoprene, and nylon are useful coverings for harnesses in which excess weight is not of huge importance. This includes end products such as automobiles, trains, and appliances. These materials are more cost-effective to process, while still providing resilience to the cable assembly.

Both higher and lower end insulation materials offer companies like Liberty a variety of ways to tailor wiring harnesses to their client’s needs. This combination of mechanical, electrical, and biological protection goes a long way in protecting an assembly. Insulation equips wiring assemblies with the durability needed for the increasingly high performance needs of our customers.

Want to learn more about the possibilities for wiring insulation? Leave a comment below, or contact Liberty today!

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Community and Beyond: The Global Impact of Liberty Electronics

by Liberty Electronics

Every community is impacted by the companies that operate within. Companies of all sizes create a ripple effect, creating a variety of touchpoints and connections within their communities and beyond. This is especially true of a company like Liberty Electronics. Although a small business by definition, Liberty is actually one of the largest companies in the small town of Franklin, Pennsylvania. Franklin is a picturesque, Victorian era community of hard-working families that work together, play together, learn together, worship together, and succeed together.

Liberty’s Ripple Effect

Liberty’s ripple effect starts in the center with the employees who are invested in their corporate mission through Profit-Sharing and Employee Stock Ownership (ESOP) plans. Their care and skill reflected in their workmanship sparks a sense of pride within each individual. Liberty’s flexible work schedule options allow employees to work and still be with their families when it suits their lifestyle and obligations best. This flexibility helps to provide a more balanced lifestyle for the employees, their families, the company, and for the community at large. Liberty Electronics contributes to its community and takes care of its employees, in turn inspiring them to positively impact the local economy and well-being of the city of Franklin and the surrounding communities.

Supporting the larger community on an individual and personal level, a large percentage of Liberty’s products ensure that light rail transit and commercial aircraft systems around the world operate without issue. Liberty’s employees do their part to see to it that these systems will safely carry a multitude of people throughout their busy week of work, school, and recreation with the confidence of reaching and returning from their intended destinations.

Let’s expand this community impact out another layer. In support of our national defense, a large number of Liberty’s products leave our facility and move on to become components of defense weapons, and support systems that are required to meet the needs of the warfighters protecting our nation and so many others around the free world. Some of these warfighters are from our local communities, and a number of those are from families within our own company. In addition, many of Liberty’s employees have made the admirable decision to support their country by serving in various capacities within the military.

On perhaps an even greater scale, Liberty Electronics contributes to a variety of energy generating systems that literally touch and affect the lives of millions of people each day.

From mining operations and renewable energy applications such as solar and wind power generation, to the assembly of electronic safety systems that ensure fuel rods move in and out of nuclear reactors without fail. All of these systems work seamlessly together to produce the energy necessary to satisfy the demand of electrical distribution grids throughout the world.

The Reach of Our Products and Our People

Liberty Electronics is made up of so much more than just products and processes. We’re made up of people who have a passion for making a difference within the company, the community, and the world. Our values and visions create touch-points within our local region, and our skills create products that expand our reach beyond our small town to make a global impact. For Liberty Electronics, culture is more than just the dynamic within our walls, it’s the difference we make in the world.

Every day, every hour, every minute, the products produced by Liberty Electronics touch and impact the lives of people around the world, and beyond. And it all starts here, in a small community of dedicated and caring people living and working together for a common purpose in northwest Pennsylvania.

Want to partner with a company that creates products to improve and save lives? Contact us for more information.

Liberty Electronics, provides electrical cable assemblies, wire harnesses, and box builds for demanding defense and commercial OEMs looking to grow their business by teaming with a competent and caring outsourcing partner committed to success.

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Safety in Numbers: How Process Metrics and Certification Drive Quality

by Liberty Electronics

Recently, the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) in the nation’s capital was forced to decommission nearly 75% of its new 7000-series rail cars due to crimping defects. The rail cars had crimping defects that went undetected until WMATA’s quality inspectors discovered them. The WMATA’s Quality Assurance, Internal Compliance and Oversight office (QICO), estimates that the rail cars will take over a year to be repaired. Going forward, QICO is requiring that in-process quality checks and high standards of engineering design be more explicitly outlined in WMATA’s manufacturing contracts.(1)

According to George Allman, Project Engineer at Liberty Electronics, this instance underscores the need for stringent internal quality standards to guard against the tiniest malfunctions. He calls this concept “safety in numbers.” At Liberty, for example, many layers of process controls, workmanship standards, and overall company culture are factors which reduce the chances of a product failure like the one now facing the WMATA.(2)

To Allman, frequent and thorough process controls build a database for the company to learn what standards can be reached. The more known and predictable these levels of acceptability are, the less margin for error. For example, when producing wire crimps, Liberty practices “continuous monitoring throughout the process” to ensure the crimps are of the best quality. Additionally, Liberty utilizes pull-tests and crimp analysis sampling to test the strength of the crimp connections. (Ibid) By paying attention to the consistency in product quality and becoming accustomed to a certain level of acceptability in its own work, the company builds high expectations for itself.

Moreover, Liberty holds itself to the highest standards of workmanship. The company has multiple quality assurance certifications that create the highest levels of product acceptability, most notably in IPC 620, ISO 9001, AS9100, and NADCAP AC7121. Because of this, Liberty’s internal standards exceed industry norms and manufacturer’s guidelines in contract manufacturing.

These many layers of tests and workmanship standards create a company culture that is dedicated to excellence. According to Allman, the stringent company standards reminds employees that “everything we touch affects someone’s life.”(Ibid) This is something that employees, and by extension the entire company, do not take lightly.

Liberty’s products contribute to systems and infrastructure that the public relies on every day. By utilizing the highest goals for acceptability through tests, standards of workmanship, and a company culture dedicated to excellence, the company helps ensure that its products will perform reliably for those who depend on them the most. By utilizing these measures, Liberty Electronics shows that there is safety—and distinction—in numbers.

Sources:

  1. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit AuthorityQICO 2018 Internal Review.
  2. George Allman (Project Engineer, Liberty Electronics), phone interview, 16 August 2018

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Have questions about process metrics and our quality standards? Contact us for more details.

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