How to Improve Manufacturing Quality Control

Did you know that your company could be losing thousands, if not millions of dollars from COPQ, or cost of poor quality? Quality is an absolute necessity if you want to survive and thrive in the business environment. The reduction of poor quality can transform your company into a successful one.

If you are looking for one of the best ways to contain the costs of manufacturing, then you know that lost labor and scrap materials add zero value to your operation. In fact, they only contribute to losses. 

You need to focus on manufacturing quality control to avoid losses. The most strategic approach you can take is by sustainably improving your quality.

Define Quality from the Customer Perspective

Most of the time, manufacturers want to improve their products and make them better, but they have no idea what better means. Ensure you have a customer advocate in your company so you can get information straight from the customers. 

With the customer’s perspective, you can easily define what the best products mean. You’ll know what you need to improve, or what you must eliminate, which will make quality control easy.

Create a Culture of Quality

You see, in all manufacturing plants, there are always abnormalities and inefficiencies in the manufacturing process. The problem may lie in the fact that the operators are hesitant to point the problems out of fear that it’ll reflect badly on their work.

To curb this problem, you should encourage a culture where suggestions are always welcomed and praised. Regardless of how large or small the improvements are, this will lead to improved quality control based on recommendations and a positive attitude from the manufacturers.

Most managers feel that inspections are enough for manufacturing quality control, but this is far from the truth. While inspections may work, they are not foolproof, and if you have defects, you can be sure some of it is reaching your customers. Besides, inspections tend to be very costly, so they should only be done when you need to catch a defect, but not every time.

Solve Problems as They Occur

To achieve quality control, you need to ensure everything is running smoothly. This means observing any problems affecting your team’s ability to reach that quality level. 

When you find the problems, it means you have an opportunity to not only eliminate the root cause but improve the process to prevent a recurrence.

Beyond that, you need to fix the problems you find completely and not just the symptoms of failure. Develop a meaning of root cause in your company and an ability to identify the root cause of defects. This way, you’ll have the ability to find real solutions to the problems and eliminate them.

Employ Strong Process Discipline

Now that you’re in the process of improving quality, you need to employ strong process discipline. Depending on the products your company is manufacturing, if your teams deviate without proper cooperation or anticipation of the changes, you will have dire quality repercussions.

While you should not inhibit innovation, you need a structure that maintains consistency. Your teams need to understand what procedures to follow in order to maintain consistency.

Adopt a Systematic Manufacturing Quality Control

Talking about maintaining consistency, you can’t improve your quality without a standard. Standard work is a fundamental part of your manufacturing process if you want to maintain quality. Ensure timing, sequence, content, and outcome are all standard.

What this means is that everyone in your manufacturing team does a similar job in the same way, using the same steps and achieves the same results within the same time. This is better done by talking to the teams and agreeing on the best method to achieve a certain goal.

The teams will follow the stipulated standard until you come up with a more efficient strategy. When or if something goes wrong, it gets easier to know where the standard was broken and solve it faster.

Hold Unscheduled Equipment Tests

Have you ever held unscheduled equipment tests? These are usually like a pop quiz for safety purposes. All you do is choose a team at random and inquire about the utilization of certain machines. It’s during this time that you should check the adherence of the employees to the safety measures and whether they are striving for quality. It’s during unscheduled checks that you can catch issues that some employees may not report to you.

Use a 3D Scanner to Check Quality

One of the best things you can do is find a 3d scanner and use it to check the quality of products produced. 

Technology has made a lot of things easy in the manufacturing industry, and you can use it to your advantage. 3D scanning is especially very helpful in manufacturing quality control because it helps avoid costly errors in the long run.

Automate Your Manufacturing Processes

Talking about technology, automation is the next best thing you can do to ensure quality control in manufacturing. Investing in automation will not only increase the speed of production, but it’ll improve productivity and produce accurate results. You can also invest in a machine vision system for inspections, which will eliminate human error and ensure quality control.

Identify the Essential Spare Parts Needed

This is something most manufacturing companies overlook. You must ensure you always have spare parts for your most essential machines. This will eliminate dormant machines and production delays as you wait to find the relevant spare parts. With an essential supply, ensure that you keep the parts in a safe place where they’re accessible to all the relevant teams.

Managers Need to Be Trained Properly

The managers in charge should be properly trained in terms of delegating, communicating, and leading the teams. Ensure you have proper management training and that your managers focus more on manufacturing quality control. 

Good quality control should start here. If the leaders fail to manage the manufacturing teams, there’s hardly any chance the products will be of high quality.

Better Quality Control for a Better Workplace

Improving and enhancing manufacturing quality control will be a labor and time-intensive process. It’s a critical component of improving your company and offering better products to your customers. Quality control in manufacturing can also mean millions of dollars in profits and a better brand image. 

If you feel that enhancing the quality control of your company is necessary, learn more about it on our website.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.