There is always room for growth within a company. For manufacturers, improving the quality of their products and production processes is always a focal point. To maintain a competitive edge in the industry, quality control should always be a priority.
The best place to start quality control improvements is on the factory floor. By getting everyone involved, from employees to management, you can assure your company will be working towards a solid common goal and actively evolving individual products, processes and culture. With just a few minor tweaks to your operational process, distinct quality improvements will be achieved in no time. Here are the best methods for improving quality control on the factory floor:
1. Define your quality standards
Before looking to make improvements to your quality control process, it’s important to establish what your company’s quality standards are. To do this, ask yourself where leniency is allowed. How many defective products are you expecting to find in a day? Which steps in the process do you want to optimize? The answers to these questions will allow you to pinpoint areas of concern and have a clear target on your goals.
To begin implementing your quality standards, you may want to consider making a checklist that contains everything a high-quality product should have. This will ensure everyone is on the same page about quality control and no products will leave the facility without first meeting specific guidelines. Apple Rubber has a version of a quality checklist that they internally refer to as a “pink sheet.” This checklist follows products throughout production and the quality testing process to assure each material is meeting Apple Rubber’s standards.
2. Make sure each employee is properly trained
Employees should be properly trained in their position and in the quality control process. If an employee is confident in their role and company standards, they will be more likely to spot defects, abnormalities or disruptions in the process. This will prevent any unsatisfactory products from leaving the facility and malfunctions in machinery can be caught before any costly shutdowns occur.
Train employees on multiple machines and processes. This way, a group of employees can help one another troubleshoot issues, act as substitutes when needed and get a better understanding of all the processes that occur within the facility. Employees can feel more confident in their own roles and the products they’re producing when they understand everything that is happening around them.
3. Quantify everything in the facility
While manufacturing is sales driven, it’s important to take into account what goes into a process aside from the dollar signs. Manufacturers should quantify everything, including man-hours, equipment wear and tear and planned downtime for operations. By quantifying all aspects of the company, it makes it easier to see which areas need more attention or improvement. Too much wear and tear may mean it’s time for new equipment, while extra downtime may point to hiccups in operation. By giving everything a number value, quality improvements can easily be spotted and made.
4. Upgrade equipment when necessary
There comes a time when every piece of equipment needs an upgrade. However, upgrading equipment does not always have to mean buying a whole new piece of machinery. Sometimes, an upgrade can be as simple as fixing a single part within a machine or installing a new version of software on a device. Regardless of the severity, upgrading equipment is an important step for manufacturers to ensure their machinery is functioning at its fullest potential and is producing the highest quality parts.
Improving equipment not only enhances quality control, it also boosts efficiency and overall profitability. With updated machinery, manufacturers can ensure their equipment will be running as precisely as possible, optimizing time and resources. This will reduce unwanted downtime from malfunctions and save money on repairs and extra production hours.
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