Building strong relationships with customers

An image of ABB turbochargers stacked on top of each other
To best focus on customers’ needs, ABB Turbocharging is extending its Zero Defect program. The target: Highest quality for both products and services. The method: Lean Six Sigma (L6S).

To best focus on customers’ needs, ABB Turbocharging is extending its Zero Defect program. The target: Highest quality for both products and services. The method: Lean Six Sigma (L6S).

Four times, consecutively, ABB Turbo Systems’ factories in Baden and Klingnau, Switzerland, have been awarded Caterpillar’s Supplier Quality Excellence Process Gold Awards. Likewise, four times, ABB Turbocharging in Bolingbrook, USA, has earned Caterpillar’s prestigious Platinum Supplier Award, demonstrating that ABB Turbocharging quality is highly valued. The latest customer surveys confirm it. They find 92 percent of all ABB Turbocharging customers are satisfied or very satisfied with the company’s performance.

« To be our customers’ first choice, quality is key. L6S is a major investment in our people to understand, define and deliver quality – in all functions and at all levels. »

Oliver Riemenschneider, Managing Director, ABB Turbocharging


The remaining eight percent are of course a big incentive to do even better, and customer satisfaction is an obligation at ABB. Andreas Pira, Head of Quality at ABB Turbocharging, sums up the company’s ambitions: “We want to be the company with the highest customer focus and best quality in our industry. That is the key to building strong business relationships with customers and enabling growth.”


« Safety at work and quality go hand-in-hand and are not negotiable. Both have the highest priority, above all else, across our business. »

Urs Gribi, Managing Director, ABB Turbo Systems Ltd


« Zero Defect is a culture for the proactive resolution of possible quality issues with the aim to secure our customers’ satisfaction.»

Paolo Tonon, Head of Global Product Group Medium-, Low-Speed and Rail, ABB Turbocharging


Quality performance in all environments
In a business culture of excellence employees are always looking for potential that will enable them to reach the next level. For this reason, in 2016 ABB Turbocharging launched its Zero Defect program. Quality not only targets improvements in the excellence of the product. With an unswerving eye on results, Zero Defect applies to everything and everyone across the business. The program improves quality in all its aspects and in all its environments: offices, production, and on site with customers. Zero Defect is also a mindset. It has become rooted in the consciousness of every single ABB employee, with everyone directing his efforts towards this goal.

Building strong relationships with customers ABB Turbocharging’s management’s hands-on approach to L6S training

Zero Defect 2016 and today
The first step in 2016 was to define four key areas of activity: 1. Leadership; 2. People; 3. Partnerships & Resources; 4. Processes, Products & Services. And for each of the four, closely tailored optimization projects were implemented. Pivotal examples: The systematic resolution of customer complaints guarantees the prompt and sustainable resolution of the problem. The key performance indicators (KPIs) introduced are a valuable mirror, enabling differentiated recording of customer satisfaction. And poka-yoke (a Japanese term meaning mistake-proofing) is an assembly of tools that addresses product defects and process mistakes by preventing, correcting or drawing attention to human errors as they occur.

A far-reaching step
Now it is time for the Make Quality Happen program: Under this title the ABB Group has now launched the latest step in its Next Level strategy. The central measure is the introduction of Lean Six Sigma (L6S). L6S is a well-known and well-proven system for the enhancement of operational excellence. Cost reduction, even shorter development and delivery times, still fewer faults and rejects will be the concrete results. L6S is the quintessence of several predecessors. It has been tested in the most demanding real, global industrial environments and is the result of a constant process of fine-tuning. For ABB, which introduced lean management methods as early as the 1990s, the implementation of L6S is a vital step towards even greater customer focus.

Flagship Turbocharging
Within the ABB family, ABB Turbocharging is assuming the role of trailblazer and is one of the first business units to implement L6S. Why ABB Turbocharging? Pira: “Our business unit is ideally prepared. Processes, roles, and responsibilities are globally and locally defined. What is clearly defined can rapidly be optimized by a dedicated L6S organization.”

Earlier this year, ABB Turbocharging nominated so called L6S sponsors. These are the key people responsible for the sustainable implementation of L6S within ABB Turbocharging. They are the executive cutting-edge of the business and the instigators of these far reaching improvement projects. By the end of 2017 ABB Turbocharging will have trained the nominated persons and created the preconditions for the establishment of an L6S organization.

« Quality is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone of us at ABB Turbocharging is part of our quality performance as we are only as good as the weakest link. »

Herbert Müller, Global Head of Service, ABB Turbocharging


image credit: ABB Turbo Systems Ltd