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Automation & Control


Powering through projects with Quality Companion


Quality Companion organises and manages all types of quality improvement projects within one application.


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hoenix Contact develops, manufactures, and distributes industrial electrical and electronic technology products that power, protect, connect, and automate systems and equipment across many different industries. The company


produces more than 25 000 products, and delivering the highest quality to customers is the company’s focus from product design through each stage of the manufacturing process. With so many products, process optimisation is a vital


piece of Phoenix Contact’s continuous improvement culture, and the company does many transactional and manufacturing improvement projects every year. Project teams were using a variety of software tools to do various tasks, which required team members to manually enter project data over and over again, keying the same information into each different project form. When the company adopted Quality Companion by Minitab to manage their entire Lean Six Sigma initiative, they immediately began saving time and money by using only one application to manage and execute all their improvement projects. “Companion provides everything we need in a single application,” says Joe Russo, Master Black Belt. “It transformed our continuous improvement deployment from a manual system into an efficient, integrated program.”


The Challenge Phoenix Contact is a vertically integrated company: it controls the design, production, assembly, and logistics for each product it delivers. Continuous improvement projects across


each of these product development stages, as well as projects to improve transactional business functions like customer service, were scattered across the company’s network in multiple files, formats, and folders. It became difficult for improvement teams to update and


locate project documentation. It also became challenging for management to track and report a project’s status to company stakeholders. Because a variety of software programs were used to create


project forms and templates, all project information had to be entered manually. Forms weren’t capable of automatically sharing common information, so team members had to spend valuable time copying and pasting shared information from one form to another. And any time information that appeared on multiple forms needed to be changed, team members needed to update the same piece of information over and over again, adjusting every form manually. The diversity of tools being used by Phoenix Contact


Lean Six Sigma practitioners made starting and following the appropriate steps in an improvement project daunting. “When Green Belts first began, they were overwhelmed by the breadth of available tools,” Russo says. “Many practitioners struggled with choosing the correct tools at each phase of the project.”


How Quality Companion helped


In response to challenges such as these, Minitab Inc designed Quality Companion to organise and manage all types of quality improvement projects within one application. Quality Companion provides and stores all of the tools and


Fig. 1. Phoenix Contact, a major developer of industrial electrical and electronic technology products, uses Quality Companion by Minitab to streamline their process for completing continuous improvement projects.


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