Getting a Handle on Quality

St. Paul Division wins 2014 Webasto Quality Excellence Award

By Darren J. Bombich
Sales Manager/Sales Engineer, Pace Industries’ St. Paul Division

Doug Winfrey (left) and I (right) accept the Webasto 2014 Quality Excellence Award from Webasto Buyer Dawn Bostwick
Doug Winfrey (left) and I (right) accept the Webasto 2014 Quality Excellence Award from Webasto Buyer Dawn Bostwick

Doug Winfrey (left) and I (right) accept the Webasto 2014 Quality Excellence Award from Webasto Buyer Dawn Bostwick

It’s the details that make the difference. Pace Industries St. Paul Division proved that recently by serving one of our customers with a unique need — and we were rewarded for it. Webasto-Edscha Cabrio USA,  a manufacturer of automotive convertible roof systems, came to us with a request that looked simple enough on the surface: Supply an overmolded and machined die cast aluminum operating handle for the convertible top on the new Ford Mustang. When they shared their need for a tight turnaround and approval time with us, that’s when things became a little more interesting.

As you can imagine, any component added to an automobile must go through a rigorous approval process by the vehicle manufacturer for safety and durability.  It was discovered early in the APQP process that Webasto had specified a neoprene-type overmold material that had not been approved by Ford. The customer was facing the reality that they might not be able to deliver a solution before the new Mustang was slated to hit the streets.

The St. Paul team was quick on our feet to come up with a solution. By thinking outside the box, we found a material that was already used elsewhere in the vehicle that we thought might also work for this application. We were right. Using this already Ford-approved material allowed the engineering change process to fast track, which solved Webasto’s timeframe problem. It also ensured they got parts at the price point they needed to provide a smooth, on-time launch for the new Mustang.

The hard work and ingenuity led to a solution that recently earned the St. Paul Division Webasto’s 2014 Quality Excellence Award. The two key elements that secured the quality excellence award: 100 percent on-time delivery and zero parts per million defects (PPMD). Pace was able to deliver both and exceed Webasto’s expectations. Doug Winfrey, quality control manager at the St. Paul Division, said it well:

“I am proud of St. Paul and was honored to stand up and receive this award for our team. Our success in our business, which contributed to the Quality Excellence Award, can be shown through the proper execution of Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP).”

Full utilization of the APQP Workbook at St. Paul is partially to credit for the award. Of course, all those processes don’t mean much if there’s no one there to implement them, and our team stood up to the challenge.

Check out this video on the new Ford Mustang convertible, which includes highlights on the all-new convertible roof system and a look at the operating handle supplied by Pace’s St. Paul Division.

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