Customer profile:
Kimball International

Note: These customers were using a previous version of CHARTrunner which has since been integrated into our current SQCpack solution.

Documentation alone is not enough

Quality professionals at Kimball International, a manufacturer of products ranging from pianos to furniture to hospital beds, found themselves “documenting everything” in their efforts to improve product quality and meet customer expectations. But Denise Gadlage, continuous improvement manager, points out that documentation alone is not sufficient to understand a process. That’s where CHARTrunner comes in.

CHARTrunner was everything we were looking for”

Kimball’s decision to purchase CHARTrunner for its upholstered products division was made after substantial research by Joe Huddleston, IT application developer. Huddleston was working on ways to chart non-standard labor data that is stored in Oracle databases. He wanted charts to visually communicate to the department leaders the extent to which they were using non-standard labor. “CHARTrunner was everything we were looking for,” Gadlage says. She had participated in a Beyond Excel seminar at PQ Systems, and when she saw the way CHARTrunner worked, commented to a colleague at the seminar, “We have to get this.”

Gadlage has found the PQ Systems charting program so easy to use that she has become an advocate for it in the large Kimball organization, and demonstrates it for her colleagues.

CHARTrunner makes it possible to see data in different ways

“Non-standard labor” refers to jobs that lie outside the documented description of tasks in a particular process. When rework or additional steps are necessary, or if extra compensation is required due to training or other inefficiency problems, that work/money constitutes non-standard labor and adds to the cost of the product even if it is not fully documented in the task details. By charting the data stored in the Oracle databases related to this process, Kimball Upholstered Products was able to help leaders assess the impact of this practice. “We want to be able to see data in different ways,” Gadlage says, and CHARTrunner has made this possible.

SPC charts without data entry

CHARTrunner is a stand-alone charting tool for general statistical process control (SPC) charting. It eliminates data entry and streamlines the process of statistical analysis. The program, developed by PQ Systems statisticians, reads data that resides in Access, Excel, SQL Server, Oracle, and virtually all other data sources. It instantly creates SPC charts, making data immediately available for analysis.

Kimball International continues its tradition of quality

Kimball International began manufacturing pianos in the 1800s. They have grown since 1950 from a local company with fewer than 30 employees to an international organization that employs about 9,500. It has operations in 16 states, plus Canada, England, Austria, Mexico, France, Thailand, and Poland. The company’s products include office furniture, systems, and seating (Kimball, National, and Transwall brands); Bosendorfer pianos; Kimball hospitality furniture; Kimball health care furniture; and Kimball home furniture. Its tradition of quality and craftsmanship is represented in its quality systems implementation and in registration to ISO 9000, QS 9000, and ISO 17025 standards.

For more information about the Kimball International organization, visit www.kimball.com