A 1977 study at Indiana University estimated that 260,000 automobile crashes occurred each year in the United States because of underinflated tires. In November 2000, the US Congress enacted the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act (TREAD), shortly following more than 250 fatalities linked to the under inflation of Firestone tires on Ford Explorers. According to TREAD, all new passenger vehicles and light trucks produced in North America after September 2007 are required to have Tire Pressure Sensors (TPS).
At the time TREAD was enacted, General Motors of Canada Limited (GMCL) was preparing to launch production of a new 2009 model year Chevrolet Equinox and Pontiac Torrent in its CAMI Automotive plant located at Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada. As a result, GMCL sourced a lowest cost supplier of Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS). The supplier, Vendor A, was a new supplier of TPMS components, and was asked to provide a number of samples for initial performance verification testing.
The initial testing results did not meet GMCL’s required quality and performance standards. In addition, the supplier missed a number of production evaluation schedule deadlines. GMCL engineers were not confident that these issues could be resolved satisfactorily in time for the critical internal production introduction milestones that would support a May 2009 production start at CAMI, and wanted a contingency plan.
Neil Mathew, a second year engineering co-op student, was asked to determine the nature of quality and schedule risks associated with the current source of TPMS supply, and to present a contingency plan, with recommendations, to address these risks.