Quality control, assurance, and management are essential aspects of running any factory floor. Quality manufacturing brings many benefits for manufacturers and protects them against risks and losses. The latest developments in manufacturing quality are making these benefits more accessible than ever before. Here’s what every manufacturer should know about the importance of quality manufacturing and how they can achieve it.
What Is Quality?
The definition of quality isn’t something that’s easy to pin down. The concept applies to a wide range of fields and applications. This can be seen in the implementation of quality standards like ISO 9001, which has practically countless variants within its family of standards for individual industries.
While no definition is perfect, the quality industry has several that cover a wide range of applications. Among the most important is fitness for use. This breaks down into five key criteria:
- The quality of the product design
- The conformance of production to that design
- Product availability
- Product safety risks
- Customer perception of the product
By evaluating these criteria, organizations can gauge the quality of their product and identify potential areas where quality can be improved.
How Does Quality Relate to the Concept of Manufacturing?
According to the manufacturing-based definition of quality, the primary concern is the degree to which a product conforms to its standards. Under the definition manufactured goods tend to fall under, this comes down to the evaluation of individual units or batches of products to ensure they meet quality criteria.
There are many different quality criteria that can be evaluated. Size tolerances, weight, and strength, these physical parameters can vary in importance between different types of products. In operations management, quality is defined in terms of customer satisfaction. This means that issues that might not really affect a product’s use, like the opacity of a water bottle, can still be important.
How Do Manufacturers Manage Quality?
Manufacturing quality control is a multi-layered process that is spread across the entire organization. It’s far more than just product inspections. On the factory floor, quality control in manufacturing ensures that product quality is maintained through monitoring, measurements, and testing. Quality assurance in manufacturing is the development, standardization, and integration of quality control practices.
At a higher level is quality management. This includes the part of the process where important quality criteria are defined based on a wide range of requirements, including safety, customer feedback, and more. This also includes ensuring adherence to regulations and quality standards, quality engineering in manufacturing, and risk management.
What Are Some Criteria for Ensuring Quality in Manufacturing?
A lot of planning and development goes into creating an effective quality management policy for any manufacturer. Any policy should address these important criteria:
- Having procedures in place to ensure that defined workflows and recipes are being followed on the factory floor.
- Being able to evaluate and monitor the condition and maintenance of machines and other equipment.
- Ensuring that operators have the necessary qualifications and training for their roles.
- Developing an agile factory floor where quality issues can be quickly identified, analyzed, and resolved.
These are all criteria that fall outside the conventional view of quality as simply testing finished products, but they all fall under the umbrella of ensuring manufacturing quality.
What Do Manufacturers Do When Quality Issues Arise?
While much of quality management is proactive and related to planning, it also includes methodologies for dealing with issues as they arise. The most common method is to implement CAPA (Corrective Action/Preventative Action). This focuses on providing an effective response to every quality event, a response that addresses both the issue now and implements preventative measures for the future.
Can Quality Manufacturing Improve Production Efficiency?
Every factory floor has theoretical productivity that they could reach if every machine was available and running at full speed. However, production efficiency is affected by maintenance, logistics, and other factors, with quality being among the most important.
If products are rejected due to quality, they must be reworked or remade. This takes machine and operator hours from new production, reducing efficiency. Effective quality management can reduce reject rates and ensure that all resources are being used as efficiently as possible.
What Are the Potential Costs of Poor Quality Management?
Quality issues can become expensive very quickly. That includes both internal and external failure costs. Internal failure costs include scrap and rework, the wasted material, energy, and labor resources that come with rejected products.
External failure costs are the potential impact that releasing poor quality products to customers can have. Manufacturers can lose business as their reputation declines and can also face warranty or recall costs.
How Does Quality Help Build Better Customer Relationships?
The primary focus of quality is to develop products that customers will buy while also meeting safety and regulatory requirements. A manufacturer with effective quality management can develop better customer relationships, improving their market position and allowing the company to grow.
Customer retention is an important aspect of quality management. Recurring quality issues can quickly sour customer relationships and results in lost business. Repeat business saves manufacturers the potential customer acquisition costs that come with finding new customers. Having a reputation for consistent quality can also lead to customer referrals, further growing the company.
What Does Quality 4.0 Mean?
Quality 4.0 refers to the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies and practices specifically within quality management. This includes a wide range of advancements like digitalization, IoT, enhanced analysis, and more. In quality, the increased connectivity and visibility provided by Industry 4.0 are beginning to have a significant impact.
Quality 4.0 allows for more versatile connections between quality control sensors, software, and controls. This creates new opportunities for automation in quality control, allowing for quality control software for manufacturing to make adjustments as needed without operator input.
How Can Matics Help Improve Manufacturing Quality?
Matics provides a versatile real-time operational intelligence solution that enables manufacturers to improve across every area of production, including quality. Matics aggregates and analyzes data from all machines, including those committed to quality control. Accurate, real-time quality information is available through our intuitive platform, along with automated alerts and KPI monitoring to ensure that quality issues are resolved with minimal latency. You can contact Matics today to find out more.