What is Quality Control and How Can You Improve It?
What is Quality Control and How Can You Improve It?
Industry Insights
What is Quality Control and How Can You Improve It?
It’s essential to aim for Quality Control improvement, minimizing risk and making your organization better, all at once.
March 1, 2021

What is Quality Control and How Can You Improve It?

Concerning Quality Control, let’s be clear on this: your operation sits in the biggest room in the world. It’s called the room for improvement. It’s really not rocket science if you get the hang of a few things. The quality upgrades will be obvious and tangible, even though your operations will remain lean.

Manufacturing is a wheel of many cogs. Anyone who works in the sector realizes that improving Quality Control is the engine for success at every level. Better QC can increase profits. It can also raise satisfaction levels among staff and customers alike. Companies seeking a proactive approach to employee, customer, and manager welfare, can achieve it by improving Quality Control.

It’s essential to aim for Quality Control improvement, minimizing risk and making your organization better, all at once.

The Fundamentals of Quality Control

It’s futile to speak of improving Quality Control without understanding the subject. Quality Control comprises testing units to ensure they are within the specification parameters for the final product.

Testing checks if there’s need for corrective actions in manufacturing. Good Quality Control enables companies to as certain the need for corrective actions in manufacturing.Companies need good Quality Control to understand consumer demands and deliver better products.

Quality testing involves all parts of manufacturing. The norm is for employees to begin with testing raw materials, pull samples from the manufacturing line, and ensure the finished product is everything like it should be.

Testing at various points allows manufacturers to identify the precise sources of production problems. It also enables them to adopt preventive measures for the future.

Quality Control measures are often a function of the product or industry. For instance, in food and drug manufacturing, QC comprises ensuring the product is consumer health-friendly. Therefore, the company will subject samples from the production line to chemical and microbiological tests.

Now, the appearance of prepared food influences consumer perception. For visual inspection, manufacturers may then prepare the product following package directions.

Motor accident scan lead to loss of life or permanent disability. Quality Control in automobile manufacturing focuses on how parts interact in various configurations, and that engines operate with smoothness and efficiency.

The electronics industry also makes extensive use of Quality Control testing. It often involves using meters to measure the flow of electricity.

Regardless of the industry, it is possible to improve Quality Control.

Step One to Making Quality Control Happen

There are more than a handful of ways to measure the performance of Quality Control. A Quality Control chart – an intuitive graphic –shows whether sampled processes or products are matching desired specifications. It also gives a vivid idea of how wide off the mark they are if they are not meeting these specifications.

A QC chart is a univariate chart if it only analyzes one attribute of a product. Otherwise, it is called a multivariate chart.

The X-Bar Chart

To chart one or more attributes, the Quality Control inspector(s) randomly select products from the manufacturing line. An example of such a chart is the X-Bar Chart. On this chart, the y-axis (dependent axis) measures the extent of acceptability of the tested attribute.

The independent axis (x-axis) of the X-Bar chart tracks the samples under test. An analysis of the pattern of variance from a QC chart can reveal if defects are a random occurrence or are happening systematically.

The Taguchi Method

Another way to ensure Quality Control is the Taguchi Method. This method places a premium on research and development, specifically on how they contribute in minimizing how often product defects and failures occur.

Other key parameters in the Taguchi Method include product design and product development. The method portrays design as more crucial in manufacturing than manufacturing in Quality Control. It also aims to eliminate production variances before they are able to rear their heads.

Where Should You Begin Quality Control Improvement?

The factory floor is the best place to begin quality control improvements. It is essential that all hands – employees and management – are on deck as you march towards the common goal of improving quality.

Every product, culture, and process should reflect in the steps a manufacturer takes to achieve this. One interesting fact is that wholesale changes are not necessary to the process of quality improvement. However, minor tweaks to the operational process over the long haul can bring about distinct improvements in quality in no time. We should now consider ways to improve quality control on the shop floor.

Seven Ways to Improve Quality Control

#1 – Clarify Your Quality Standards

What does “quality” mean in your ecosystem? Defining this early on will provide the basis to implement control methods at your operation. Other crucial questions include clarity on how many defects you can accommodate and what your action plan is for optimizing oversight.

Overall, your goals should aim to keep costs to a minimum and use time more efficiently.

Besides these, it’s essential to know what steps in the process you wish to improve. End-product evaluations is the preferred option for lean manufacturing plants, though you may want to improve efficiency across the board.

Butler Automatic is perhaps the perfect case study. They were able to improve on-time deliveries to 97 percent from a less-impressive 77 percent. They adopted a lean manufacturing process, implemented cross-trained employee ideas, along with an inventory system which vendors control.

Implementing quality standards involves a lot of minute elements. It is beneficial to workout a checklist containing all that a high-quality product should have. It’ll keep everyone speaking the same language concerning Quality Control and ensure that products leaving the facility all meet specific guidelines.

Apple Rubber calls their quality checklist the “pink sheet.” It follows products all through production and quality testing to ensure each one meets the company’s standards.

You can define and promote a standard of quality throughout your organization using WorkClout Documents. Learn more about WorkClout Documents.

 

#2 – Train Your Employees

Your employees are the first line of offense in promoting good Quality Control practices. Specific training is vital to get your employees battle-ready for this process. It’s essential to build Quality Control practices across the breadth of your organization and not just around your Quality Control Officer. It’s the same type of thinking that underscores the lean enterprise culture.

Cross-trained employees can also contribute to developing ideas that enhance efficiency and Quality Control. This approach fosters a culture where these employees develop an ownership mentality that empowers them and is valuable to the business as a whole. Overall, their work will improve and error rates will drop significantly.

While change maybe able to improve efficiency in a manufacturing setup, it also can invite a few unique problems. It is realistic for managers to expect a drop in Quality Control as they transition to novel Quality Control practices. Japanese automobile giant, Toyota, even authored a manual giving a thorough overview of change point management. For example, a crucial axiom in open-source software development is that “with more eyes, all bugs are shallow.” Trained employees give your organization more opportunities to notice problems before issues get a chance to grow wings. It’ll significantly lower the occurrence of faulty products.

Therefore, train employees to only accept Quality and nothing less. Houston Downhole Sensors used Total Quality Control (TQC) and Just-in-Time (JIT) production to lower machine shop defects to 2 percent from 20 percent within a short span of three months. It is clear that there are benefits to getting employees to focus on quality.

 

Training can be achieved using Custom Form Templates and Skills Management on WorkClout. Learn more about Form Templates and Skills Management.

 

#3 – Use Technology to Build Up QualityControl

Technology is here to stay, and it’s actively influencing every part of product and service delivery. It’s impossible to ignore technology or its impact, unless at your own peril. Take cloud technology for instance. It can make your operations more efficient and better at Quality Control. Quality Control itself, is mostly about gathering data. The options depend on the peculiarity of your operations.

Imagine that you want to install real-time sensors to track your products. These sensors communicate with software that send you alerts in the event of slightest defector abnormality. It’s easy at this stage, to stop a product from leaving the production line or making it to shipment.

This process may also make good use of some automation through the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and the Internet of Things, IoT, throughout your premises. Automation with IoT allows the process to learn about Quality Control issues and fix them without human involvement or assistance.

Cutting-edge technologies are often expensive. However, the gains in terms of employee productivity and overall Quality is worth every cent.

 

Improve overall quality using WorkClout to perform digital quality inspections. Learn more about Digital Quality Inspections.

#4 – Perform Random Equipment Use Tests

Pop quizzes are great for on-the-spot assessments. In manufacturing, pop quizzes for safety are through unscheduled equipment use tests. They are also simple to conduct. Pick a random group of employees and enquire about how they use all relevant machines. During the process, look out for adherence to safety measures. There’s often plenty of oversight here and most improvement needs to be in this area.

Testing appears to be nit picky, yet it’s essential if your organization cares about improving Quality Control and wants all personnel to be safe on the job.

#5 – Equipment Upgrades are OftenNecessary

Upgrading production equipment can help to enhance quality. Upgrading does not suggest purchasing the latest digital equipment. An organization can replace outdated equipment that either breaks down often or churns out defective products.

However, acquiring new equipment means upgrading the technical know-how of employees. The attendant increased chances for error is a fact that you need to communicate to employees.

When you improve you shop equipment, you also improve efficiency and on-time deliveries. Some companies even consider late deliveries as a grave quality defect. Modern equipment can improve production rate. They can also mitigate late deliveries, and preserve your company’s reputation for quality.

#6 – Devise a Response Plan

Spotting quality errors is only one-half of the equation. The other all-important half is to develop a response plan. Having a Quality Control Officer on-site is oneway to achieve this. To make it easier to fix quality errors, a rework specialist will be a relevant addition to the team.

A quality correction specialist knows what to do even if the quality defects are due to incoming inventory. The specialist can perform all inspections and AQL audits.This step is an extension of your shop’s process.

If you prefer to fix problems in-house, pick an employee who will handle problems while locating the cause. Fixing the root cause can improve quality over time.

#7 – Ensure Your Shop Floor is Clean

A safe work environment is a high-priority endeavor. It is the direct off-shoot of active shop floor maintenance. Never overlook having a clean facility. Shop floor maintenance ensures everyone on the floor participates in the smooth and efficient running of the manufacturing process.

You can document cleaning procedures for your facility to specify expectations. It’ll also clarify who is responsible for cleaning what aspect. Clear guidelines and processes should be available, clarifying how to do housekeeping. Records of every activity are also important as soon as they are completed. However, note that some machines will require more attention and preventive maintenance than others.

An excellent method to ensure that employees keep the shop floor in great condition is the “Pick Up As You Go.” Cleaning up expected and unexpected mess such as chemical spills or other unsightly material can minimize the risk of workplace injury and prevent accidents. It promotes employee well-being and enhances company revenue.

Quality Control Improvement is Urgent: Do It Now

A company provides continuous opportunities for growth. Manufacturers need to be consistent in improving the quality of their products and production processes. Improving quality should always be the core focus of growth.

Improving Quality Control is a matter for the moment. How your products emerge can impact your brand and reputation. You need to be prompt in enhancing the quality of your products and processes. Sometimes, you’ll need to change your organizational culture as you implement new quality paradigms. However, this will go a long way to implement better quality on the shop floor. Improving Quality Control is a priority that offers a competitive edge in any industry. You’ll also find your overall appraisal costs reduce significantly over time.

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