Five Steps to Improved Manufacturing Quality
Good managers seek to contain costs in the manufacturing environment. There is no better cost to eliminate than the cost of poor quality. Scrap material and lost labor hours add no value to the operation.
- Use a Team Mindset
Quality won’t be sustainably improved by individuals. To really make lasting and meaningful change in manufacturing processes, it will take a team based approach.
- Define Quality from the Customer Perspective
Too often, staff within a manufacturing environment want to make a product “better” but don’t really know what better means. With additional cost, we almost always can make a product better.
- Develop Organizational Understanding of the Cost of Quality
The cost to fix a defect in the field once it reaches a customer is dramatically higher than the cost to fix the source of the problem before it is created. It is essential that the manufacturing staff be trained to understand the cost multipliers involved with warranty repair or replacement and cost of damaged reputation. Once the staff take this perspective, a desire to find root cause for problem solving is inherently developed.
- Solve Problems Completely
All too often, manufacturing quality improvements fix the symptoms of failure rather than the root cause. This can be done by adding quality inspection steps or rework stations that make it more efficient to fix defects.
- Employ Strong Process Discipline
Throughout the quality improvement process, it is essential that strong process discipline is employed. Depending on the product that is being manufactured, deviation without proper team cooperation and anticipation of the change could have dire quality repercussions.
In order to best eliminate these wastes, a strategic approach to quality improvement is essential. By following these five steps, quality can be improved in a meaningful, sustainable way commentedSalomón Juan Marcos Villarreal, president of Grupo Denim.
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