How One Manufacturer Passed a Customer Audit

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In preparing for an upcoming audit by an important customer, Timberline and Cirris worked together to improve Timberline’s testing process. This helped Timberline pass their audit, impress their customer, and reinforce the trust between Timberline and Cirris.

Manufacturing and Testing

Timberline Manufacturing is an electrical sub-assembly manufacturer that uses Cirris testers to ensure quality and accuracy in their cables and harnesses. For over 25 years, Timberline has provided the wire-processing industry with wire harness assemblies, control panels, circuit board assemblies, and more. Their goal is to make reliable products that bring their customers success.

In the spring of 2019, Timberline Manufacturing recognized the need to improve their testing process. The company had been using Cirris testers for years but had not evaluated their testing practices in some time. In order to receive guidance, they called Cirris.

Evaluation and Improvement

When Cirris arrived at Timberline, Timberline explained that they were preparing for an important audit with a customer who was a global leader in the mining business. Both Timberline and Cirris were eager to find ways to improve testing and impress Timberline’s customer.

Timberline showed Cirris the testing area which included complex electric cabinet assemblies with relays and terminal blocks that could be changed depending on the components of the device-under-test.

Modifying the test fixturing within the assemblies as well as the test programs for each test required investing an immense amount of time in the process. Timberline employees would have to adjust the components and test instructions until they could be sure the test was accurate—and they would do this for every new cable or harness tested.

To save time, Cirris showed Timberline the text-to-speech feature in Easy-Wire Software. This little-known feature reads aloud text on the screen. Instead of spending time constantly moving between the screen and the assembly, the user listens for the next instruction.

The evaluation and training from Cirris helped prepare Timberline for the audit and provide them with tools to ensure long term success in testing.

 The Audit

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On the day of the audit, Timberline’s customers arrived at the facility. The customer’s team consisted of Quality, Engineering, and Purchasing who were all impressed with Timberline’s people, facility, and the new Cirris test system.

When they reached the test area, one of the Timberline’s engineers showed the customer how they tested each cable for wiring errors using the cabinet assemblies. He tested a cable that passed with no problems. The customer looked over the cabinet test setup with its tester, fixturing, and assembly. He then asked Timberline to run the test again. The test engineer proceeded to retest the assembly. This time it failed.

When the customer asked the Timberline engineer to explain the failure, the engineer reviewed the Cirris Easy-Wire test results and discovered a missing connector. The customer then showed where he had intentionally disconnected one of the fixturing connectors. He had disconnected the connector because he wanted to know if the test process was truly thorough and accurate. By immediately finding the missing connector as the cause of the failure, Timberline had succeeded. As far as the customer was concerned, Timberline had passed their audit.

Celebrating Success

The improved test process and successful audit come down to Timberline’s product knowledge and manufacturing skills along with Cirris’s testing knowledge and equipment. With the two companies working together, they created a prosperous outcome for all parties involved.