The quality program at Hubbell Lighting, Inc. (HLI) is based on ISO 9000 guidelines. Though the program is controlled at the corporate level, each factory in the HLI network has the latitude to introduce quality procedures reflecting local requirements.
The HLI quality program consists of five major components:
1. FACTORY AUDITS
Each factory that supplies product to Hubbell Lighting or any of it’s16 lighting divisions –including those owned by Hubbell Lighting -- are subject to audits of finished goods by highly qualified inspection personnel. This practice is in addition to any internal systems suppliers may have in place.
2. COMMUNICATIONS WITH SUPPLY BASE
Each month, HLI's supply base receives performance metrics, including monthly and YTD numbers, based on defective credits and the results of factory audits. A synopsis of the month’s audit activities, covering a list of all rejected lots and the reason for the rejection, is provided to each supplier for corrective actions and ultimately to strengthen their own system.
3. FACTORY VISITS BY HLI QA PERSONNEL
Semi-annually HLI quality assurance personnel travel to meet with their suppliers to discuss the previous six months performance, how the supplier’s quality metrics are trending, and to discuss specific issues.
4. INTERNAL PROCESSES
HLI maintains a robust internal system for dealing with quality issues that arise in the field. A warranty service department handles any issues that customers report. This department is measured against responding to all calls within a two-hour period, and has a response rate of 99% for this metric. For quality problems, a comprehensive corrective action process exists to provide a consistent means of communication, investigation, and prevention of reoccurrence. The supplier provides a complete analysis and corrective action that must meet the approval of HLI’s quality assurance team. To remain vigilant against any rising costs, HLI carefully and systematically tracks its total cost of quality seeking additional opportunities to lower those costs.
5. PARTICIPATION IN NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSFER PROJECTS
Quality department personnel serve on teams developing new products, and also help manage the transfer of items to new suppliers. Department personnel review drawings, prototypes, first samples, and communicate acceptance or rejection of the sample to the supplier, so he may effectively address any issues.
Finally, there is also a program in place that audits first shipments of each new item introduced to HLI division catalogs.
HLI has experienced remarkable improvement in its quality related metrics. From 1994 to 2000 defective credits were reduced by 28%; from 2000 to 2005, defective credits have been reduced by 48%.
The on-going objective on a company wide basis is to continue to improve, and continue to reduce defective credits for the benefit of the markets we serve.