Customers will judge your business based on whether you can deliver quality products that will meet their specs on time and without going over budget. A quality control plan helps you manage the manufacturing process and sets the stage for continuous improvement.
Signs of a Poor Quality Control Process
Quality control is a crucial component of every manufacturer’s profitability. The tighter controls you have over quality, the lower your production costs will be. Here are warning signs that your manufacturing quality control plan needs work.
Rework should be a big red flag when it comes to quality. It means you’ll have to do the same work over again because the first effort fell short.
2. Scrap/Material Waste
In every project, there is likely to be scrap or material waste. Based on your planning, however, this should be predictable and consistent. Pay attention when waste is outside the norm for projects.
3. Missed Deadlines and Budgets
If you’re missing deadlines or going over budget, there may be an issue with the estimating and proposal process. You also might have had to rework projects and make changes after the initial work was done. This can cause serious problems because you’re not meeting the deadlines you set. Rework costs money and cuts deeply into profit margins.
4. Higher Maintenance and Support Costs
If you’re experiencing high maintenance and support costs, it may be a symptom of a poor quality control process. When there’s a problem with a product, the support costs go up.
5. Warranty/Repairs for Defects
When there’s a quality control plan problem, you’ll have more warranty claims for defects and need to make more repairs.
6. Failed Audits
Process and product audits in manufacturing facilities should be done regularly and often. Failing an audit can help identify where the problems exist.
7. Customer Complaints
When customer complaints start to pile up, it’s a sign that you have quality control problems.
8. Failure to Meet Customer Demands
Your quality control plan starts by making sure you understand how the customer defines quality and then adapting the plan to ensure that you can deliver to those specs. If you fail to meet customer demands, things can go downhill quickly.
The Impact of a Poor Quality Control Plan
When the quality control plan is flawed, your operation pays the price.
Over time, your workforce can become disengaged. This decreases productivity and increases your attrition rate. When defects become “acceptable,” work suffers. You lack the continuous improvement process that you need to increase productivity and quality.
Poor quality can impact your reputation and hurt your relationships with current customers and suppliers. It can also make it difficult to attract new customers.
An overlooked impact is opportunity costs. The more you have to rework projects, deal with customer complaints, or manage any other problems caused by poor quality, the less time and money you have to invest in other areas.
What Stops Organizations from Changing?
Organizational inertia often holds companies back from making the changes to improve quality. It’s easy to fall victim to this: once people and processes are in place, it seems best to keep them there—even if you aren’t getting the results you want. Change can be hard even when it’s necessary.
However, if you’re experiencing the warning signs of a poor quality control plan, it’s time to change.
An Integrated Quality Management System
Improving quality starts with an integrated quality management system that can help you manage the entire process from end to end. Quality is not something you can afford to worry about after the fact.
“Prevention is the key to reduced quality costs.” —Quality Magazine
Bluestreak’s Integrated Quality Management System (QMS) ties quality control and quality assurance directly to individual work centers and processing steps on the production floor. It brings together all the data tracking in one comprehensive database, with no separate silos of disjointed data.
The Bluestreak Manufacturing Execution (MES) and QMS for manufacturing, heat treating, powder coating, plating, metal finishing, metallurgical labs, and 3D printing are easy to use. A quality control plan can be defined for each project, including operating instructions, sampling plans, testing and inspection requirements, and data collection.
Key QMS Components
Here are vital QMS components of a quality control plan that can be monitored by deploying Bluestreak™ MES/QMS.
- Integrated quality management
- Corrective actions/preventative actions (CAPAs)
- Document control
- Work orders
- Production floor
- Equipment maintenance
- Advanced specifications management
- Statistical process control (SPC)
You can also manage inventory and purchase orders. This includes linking inventory items or parts to specific vendors and set reorder levels. Real-time notifications, such as low inventory, new inventory arriving, or POs generated, can help you keep track of the entire manufacturing supply chain and production process.
If you don’t have a quality control plan in place, you’ll have trouble competing.
Quality control on the shop floor cannot be an afterthought. It’s your brand and your reputation on the line.
If you’re ready to leave manual, time-consuming service-based manufacturing tasks in the past, drastically reduce your scrap and rework percentage, gain visibility of your production floor processes, and build better relationships with your customers, contact us for a free consultation today!