Improving Product Quality and Production Yield in Wood Flooring Manufacturing Using Basic Quality Tools

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Since the last recession the hardwood flooring industry is currently enjoying strong growth. With this growth come new challenges for manufacturers of hardwood flooring. QEP Wood Flooring division, located in Johnson City, Tennessee, USA is a midsize flooring company which historically struggled with high customer claims. In 2016, QEP’s Johnson City management team implemented an initiative to address the top three leading causes of defects and waste in their hardwood flooring panels. A systematic plan was devised and implemented by utilizing basic quality tools and methods such as Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control (DMAIC), root cause analysis, 5-why, check sheet and deployment of effective employee awareness training. As a result, QEP Wood Flooring division reduced 81.56% in chip-out, increased 1.7% in production yield, saved over $90k annually in customer claims while improving the quality of their products and increasing customer satisfaction. This study contributes to the body of knowledge by providing an effective process and low-cost tools to improve the quality of wood flooring products elsewhere in the wood flooring industry.