Case Studies

Hydro Aluminium Precision Tubing

09.16.19

Throughout the course we have been very pleased with the collaboration with Bureau Veritas Certification, and last but not least Eddie Mogensen has been a fantastic sparring partner. He manages to conduct audits in a positive and offensive way, and we follow a whole lot of his advice and improvement suggestions, says the director about Bureau Veritas Certification's leading auditor within TS 16949, Eddie Mogensen.

Quality Manager Per Kongsbak, Hydro Aluminum Precision Tubing.

Challenge

Control everything that moves

Hydro Aluminum Precision Tubing in Tønder makes pipes for the automotive industry. An industry that places very high demands on its suppliers. Requirements for 0 errors. 100% delivery security. Low tolerance. Great precision. And a low price, of course. In order to meet these requirements, the company must have control over everything that moves. The ISO/TS 16949 standard is a tool that helps the company within just that.

If you find it difficult to comply with the requirements of ISO 9001, you can be happy that you are not, as Hydro Aluminum Precision Tubing, certified according to ISO/TS 16949. It is some kind of a super-standard that adds a number of additional requirements including the regard to handle customer-specific wishes, traceability, development projects etc. A standard that aims to minimize the number of dangerous faults in cars. Last year's self-ignited cars of the Peugeot 307 prove that it is not just for fun. Quality Manager Per Kongsbak has a large part of the responsibility that Hydro does not get involved in such events. “A TS 16949 certification is a requirement for everyone who supplies to the automotive industry. Both those who supply directly to the bands in the car factories and to those who supply components to subcontractors earlier in the food chain. It is a standard that has been developed over many years, and it is initially based on the requirements that Ford made to its suppliers. As we primarily supply to the automotive industry, we are met with this customer requirement. Both in relation to our OEM customers such as Audi and VW, but also among their direct suppliers, known as 1st Tier manufacturers. These suppliers are our largest customer group.”

Solution

Quality Culture

These two values ​​are central to the quality culture that the company has built up over a number of years - from supplier management to shipping. A culture in which top management is deeply involved. The factory's managing director, Jan-Arne Rønningen, is a former quality manager himself, and has also worked in a certification company from Norway. He knows the value of a deep quality culture. “When I first came to the mill around the turn of the millennium, we had major problems with customer complaints. We set up a number of cross-organizational customer teams and we tried to take a completely different approach to customer problems. Although some employees said that it was not possible to improve the quality level of our "bulk" products, we actually managed to reduce the complaints to just a tenth. Throughout the course we have been very pleased with the collaboration with Bureau Veritas Certification, and last but not least Eddie Mogensen has been a fantastic sparring partner. He manages to conduct audits in a positive and offensive way, and we follow a lot of his advice and improvement suggestions," says the director about Bureau Veritas Certification's leading auditor within TS 16949, Eddie Mogensen.

But a culture of quality does not come by itself. According to Per Kongsbak, the management at Hydro makes a great effort to "Walk the Talk" and to make the quality culture permeate everything you do. “We carry out training of the entire organization, so that both salaried employees and hourly workers get an understanding of why it is important for us to work with quality at all levels. Just as it is a good idea to calibrate measurement tools once in a while, it is also important that the entire organization has the same worldview. Here, our 25 internal auditors are very important to us as they are quality ambassadors in the organization. We avoid obstruction when introducing new measures and instead we get involved as they can see the transverse consequences of actions in the individual departments."

Both internal and external audits play an important role in maintaining the cross-organizational focus on quality. The external ones are managed effectively by Eddie Mogensen, Bureau Veritas Certification. According to Per Kongsbak in a very competent way. “Eddie is an old fox in the profession, and he knows a lot. He gives a lot of examples where - without mentioning the company from which the example originated - he makes the auditing exciting and easily understandable. He not only gives deviations, but also comes with a host of improvement suggestions. In addition, he is very open and fair, and he does not give deviations to employees' lack of performance if they suffer from 'exam fears' at the moment of auditing. We are very happy with our constructive dialogue and we always call him if we have any doubts about how the standard should be interpreted. When we are challenged by our customers, it is good to have him in hand and we use him as a guarantor for the interpretation of the standard”, the quality manager concludes.

Yield

In the company's global management, there is great satisfaction with the Danish efforts. The high efficiency and earnings are noticed. Therefore, it is also natural for Per Kongsbak to participate in international development work, which must establish mandatory, overall processes and procedures for the entire part of Hydro Aluminum that works with the automotive industry. And it is still a business with a turnover of NOK 8.3 billion and 7,500 employees in 16 countries. Yes, there is a lot going on in the marshes in Tønder and the surrounding area.

Facts about ISO / TS 16949

  • An industry standard for suppliers to the automotive industry
  • Proceeds from claims made by Ford Motor Co. asked its suppliers
  • Ford worked with the Chrysler and General Motors standard QS 9000
  • The German automotive industry drafted the standard VDA 6.1
  • The standards were combined by the ISO organization into one Technical Specification TS 16949

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