South Texas College’s (STC) Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and TMAC at The University of Texas-Pan American have graduated a Six Sigma class in early June. Through this partnership, STC and TMAC have offered world-class training to Maquila manufacturing employees from ALPS Automotive, EMU Plastics, GE Engine Services, Motorola and Springs Global that have lead to savings of thousands of dollars at each company.
For his Six Sigma project, Supplier Quality Development Engineer Alejandro Castillo of ALPS Automotive reviewed the shipping/receiving activities at Alpine with the intention of cutting freight costs by at least 25 percent and saving more than $600,000. By consolidating shipments between the company’s Asian facilities, Castillo significantly dropped freight costs to the company’s California location.
Castillo rerouted East Coast and Midwest shipments, saving even more money. He asked for new quotes from freight lines and found a better price. Coordinating with local manufacturing managers in his Six Sigma class, Castillo helped arrange consolidated shipments in the US.
“We all share common ship to and from locations so overall, we could see a total yearly savings after project implementation of around $1.25 million,” said Castillo. “That’s better than a 50 percent reduction in freight costs and money the company can use to make improvements in another facet of our business.”
At Springs Global, Mike Hill took a different path when applying Six Sigma to the textile maker and distributor.
“We expect to use the methodology to improve the cash receipt cycle with our Reynosa facility.” He explained. “By speeding cash receipts, we bring an immediate cash flow to the company and avoid borrowing costs.”
Hill plans other projects that directly affect cash flow at Springs.
“Six Sigma projects are geared to reducing the cost of poor quality” said Gary Steele, TMAC’s Six Sigma instructor. “The emphasis is on doing things right the first time. A key part of Six Sigma is the DMAIC method: define measure, analyze, improve and control. Participants in the 160-hour class selected projects that would reduce variation in their respective companies’ products or services to save money.”
“Six Sigma is a proven, disciplined approach for improving measurable results for any organization,” said Carlos Margo, STC IAM regional manager. “With our collaboration with TMAC, the impacts to our consortium partners clearly displays that this class is and will continue to be successful.”