Author: Paul Henriques in: Business Solutions
Bad quality creates stories as old as time. We’ve all heard them; we all know them. I probably don’t even have to go into too much detail for you to recall some of the fiascos that bad quality control brought us. Things like:
The list almost endless and applies to all areas of manufacturing. From the highest tech to the simplest switch. The end result for the companies that release these products are always the same. Investigations, lost sales, recalls, and very bad years because of a bad reputation. The causes are varied. It can be something overlooked during design or sloppy work that was rushed through quality assurance and control. Companies that do not learn from poor quality incidents never recover.
Regardless of poor workmanship or bad designs, for you to stay in business in this competitive global economy, you need to ensure that you maintain your shipped product to a higher standard.
This is where quality assurance and control come into play. With teams and processes in place, you can maximize the number of parts you inspect.
Better quality starts with better processes. For quality, almost all of your processes will, in one way or another, have a part to play in making your product.
Your customers know what they need and what they want. Getting it to them starts off with designing the product. And that product, of course, goes through engineering which creates a mountain of documentation as it goes.
To keep and review the documents, you need a central repository for all the documents.
The first step in better quality comes with properly reviewing your engineering documents. This often means corrections need to be made. When corrections are made, you need a way to keep track of them.
Managing the changes to the engineering work is the responsibility of an Engineering Change Notice (ECN) tool.
Your operators know what they are doing. They are in a flow of motion. Stopping or distracting them in the midst of an operation can cause any number of incidents, from broken parts to broken bones. Unless the operator is in unsafe conditions, don’t interrupt their cycle. Instead, if you need their attention, stand where they can see you and wait for them to have a moment to come to you.
Here, your company can implement shop monitors which allow management to send a signal to the machines on the shop floor so the operators can safely stop work and come up between work orders.
Another common-sense point to make is that even when you are on the floor performing process audits, you should be sure to avoid touching moving parts (or otherwise) and always remember your personal protective equipment (PPE). Always remember that the occupational health and safety regulations were written because they were needed and not because some bureaucrat got bored.
And in the case that something horrible does happen, you should be sure to properly report the incident.
You know your operators. They are hard workers that want to get it done faster. If you tell them what you need but also what you don’t want, they will find a way to cut the processing time down on their own initiative. So, when you are setting up the production BOM and routing for your product, be sure to provide clear instructions, both required steps and things to avoid, to your operators.
A good way to do this is to ensure that your work orders have clear instructions. Another option, if you have shop monitors, is to displays the work instructions on a slide deck on screen.
Keeping your customers happy is simple: Reasonable cost, of the desired quality, at the desired time. Sometimes people can get confused and, in an effort, to be on-time or cut the costs they will forsake some of the quality. All of these things can and should be avoided.
Whether you are loading a truck to cross a continent or running a pallet of product to it’s warehouse location, you have to be sure the items are safe in transit. Few things are worse than avoidable incidents, like having a spare piece of metal that cuts open the forklift tire or an unsecured load that falls in transit and gets you featured on the 6 o’clock news for creating the worst traffic jam in a decade.
To help avoid this, you should ensure your logistics team and your warehouse team have the instructions they need on how to properly pack and store their loads.
A final point to better quality control is having better data to help you make the right decision. Just because your vendor, who has consistently missed deliveries and quality checks, promises you that this time will be different, this doesn’t mean you should believe him.
Knowing that you can trust your data means that you know who to trust to avoid a lot of mishaps.
Perhaps the most important part of the quality process comes down to having a quality control team. A team that has the final say on all products that come into and go out of your shop can be the difference between panicked sales calls and a great customer relationship.
Controlling the quality can be made even easier with a good quality management system
All of the above steps can be made smarter and easier with a good ERP system. Of course, an ERP provides other benefits as well. When you need to improve your quality, don’t just look for an ERP, don’t just look at improving processes. Find an ERP system that includes a Quality Management System (QMS) module as an integral part of the whole. Look for an ERP system with a QMS that was designed by a team that knows your sector of the manufacturing globe.
For more information about how OnRamp ERP software can add value to your business fill in the contact form below. A member of our support team will contact you within 1 business day to discuss any questions you have.