How to Control Quality in Manufacturing

How to Control Quality in Manufacturing

Bluestreak

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Quality control can make or break a manufacturer. Being off by the smallest margin or failing to produce a finished product exactly to specification can result in a completely rejected batch, leading to more scrap, more rework, higher costs, and unhappy customers.

Without reliable quality control in place, avoiding bad audits in manufacturing will be extremely difficult. Even if you can pass them, there may be lengthy delays to document and report.

With the right MES/QMS, your audit trail will be automated. It keeps track of everything you need to keep business flowing and improve productivity on the shop floor.

For commercial job shops, Bluestreak™ provides end-to-end control, from quoting to invoicing, from maintenance and production tracking to real-time customer portal access. A fully extensible and audit compliant quality management system (QMS) allows you to have all your critical production documentation available any time you need it. This helps get rid of “silos” of disconnected data.

Quality Is Your Top Priority

In business, the key to quality involves the people doing the job, the product, and the process. All three must be aligned for success.

People

Your people must have the proper training to do the job correctly. Avoiding bad audits in manufacturing means documenting the training and monitoring the work output on the shop floor. This includes being able to spot and record non-conforming materials. These reports may not be from human errors, but it’s important to research each non-conformance to see if workers could be causing the problems and to take corrective action if that turns out to be the case.

Every time that someone notes a nonconformance, an item fails testing, parts or supplies are rejected, a controlled project exceeds established limits, or a product is rejected by the customer, it needs to be documented. This identifies the problem. A corrective action request details the plan for fixing the problem. If you don’t have an audit trail for every step of the production, it will be difficult to isolate the cause and fix it.

Product

Quality applies to the product you are producing, but it also applies to every step of production. Adherence to product specifications is crucial to maintain integrity. A zero-defect manufacturing strategy will begin by creating tight specs and aligning people and equipment to create within those specifications.

When specs are documented and followed, it reduces the amount of scrap and speeds up the inspection process.

Process

The best people, materials, and products won’t give you the results you need if you don’t have an efficient process. MES/QMS software provides end-to-end tracking for every phase. This helps you maintain quality. In case of issues, it also helps you find the root cause and take corrective actions to eliminate the problem.

While producing the highest-quality product with the least amount of cost is your goal, this process will help you avoid bad audits in manufacturing.

Process tracking also gives you deep insights into each production step, allowing you to examine ways to improve efficiency. This can result in cost reductions and improved ROI.

How the Right MES/QMS Automates Your Audit Trail

BlueDocs™ maintains a detailed, time-stamped, and user-identified audit trail for each document that is compliant with certain accreditations, certifications, and compliance standards (such as ISO 9001, AS9100, MedAccred, ITAR, EAR, etc.).

Paperless reporting follows the tracking, approvals, notification, and policy administration of quality documentation. It creates gatekeepers for approval and electronically tracks every interaction at every step. The Bluestreak™ QMS stores all test result data, so there is full transparency. This includes both the rest values themselves, as well as the process used for reporting.

Advanced specifications management gives you total control of specs. It flags mismatches between quotes and work orders. It prevents process problems that lead to quality control issues resulting from things such as:

  • Work order specifications that are replaced with revisions
  • Operators who attempt to process loads without documented training or certifications
  • Equipment being used that isn’t qualified (or qualifications have lapsed)
  • Vendors that aren’t qualified for specific jobs or have lapsed qualifications
  • Any changes to qualifications, certifications, instrument calibration, personnel, or survey requirements

Spec management prevents errors before they happen and can help you avoid bad audits in manufacturing. You can easily review any revision that was active and in force for work orders, maintenance orders, certifications, non-conformance, CAPA, quotes, invoices, and audits.

Risk analysis can also be used system wide in Bluestreak™ to provide accountability and audit-ability. Enforceable risk analysis built into your QMS helps remove the potential for human error during data entry and when reporting on certifications.

Audits can be a time-consuming and expensive proposition. Any time that you can save when dealing with an audit will also save you money. Advanced specifications management lets you respond to auditors or customer conformance inquiries promptly. After the work order has been completed, the system has a built-in, robust audit trail documenting conformance to requirements and a process control matrix containing all supporting references.

Summary

Avoiding bad audits in manufacturing starts with having a well-documented process, tracking every step from work order to testing and final production. It’s also the key to Quality Assurance. The best and easiest way to avoid bad audits in manufacturing is to use the right MES/QMS to document everything.

Contact Bluestreak™ today for a demo, and let us show you how our MES/QMS software is changing service-based manufacturing.

Bluestreak’s MES + QMS solution helps service-based manufacturers drive quality straight down to the production floor to minimize scrap and rework and, therefore, protect their profit margins.

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!