What is next in our TQM tool work?

We have mapped how long it takes to prepare the vehicle for testing using the histogram. We have used the Ishikawa diagram to generate ideas we wish to investigate as causing the time to be longer than we would like it to be. Our next step is to see if the ideas suggested in the fishbone diagram have merit.

In our fishbone diagram we made note of the quality of the vehicle. We interview people who perform the testing on the vehicles to and find out that many of the vehicles going to electrical test have endured many miles of durability testing.  The vehicle does not represent the production incarnation as well (configuration) including wire harness revision.  These updates to the wire harness can take considerable hours as we take the vehicle apart, update the wire harness to the system content needed for the test, and then put the vehicle back together again.  The errant configuration is not limited to the wire harnesses and other hardware incarnations, but to the electronic control units (ECU’s) parameter settings as these are frequently hand configured. With hundreds of parameters for some of ECU’s we consume considerable time trying to get this exactly correct for the vehicle configuration.  We may choose to make some Pareto analysis (of our historical record) of these areas to understand which are the most damaging or the more frequent of occurrence.

When we investigate our personnel capability we find that most are seasoned veterans with certification(s) from the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB).  We believe the tester’s expertise is not a significant contributor to the amount of time we are spending to prepare the vehicle.

Our work thus far has provided some answers to why it takes so long to prepare a vehicle for testing.  We will need to explore further to determine how to reduce the preparation time due to those things we found associated.  We can find a way to measure each of those items impact and put the data into a Pareto format to see which of the items we should tackle first.  Specifically which items will show us the most improvement in our vehicle preparation for test time.

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