Consider these practical ways a quality platform helps manufacturers work smarter.
Quality engineers spend much of their time creating and checking charts to make sure product quality compliance requirements are being met. They’re asking: is data in spec? Are SPC rules being met? Is the right data being collected on time, every time?
With a quality platform, those questions are answered automatically. Managers are notified of issues and can take corrective actions quickly—then refocus their attention to higher-value problems.
Prioritizing Quality Improvements
Managers and quality engineers often spend more time collecting and formatting data than analyzing or applying it. Since they look only at granular data—at the site or line level—it’s hard to measure the magnitude of a problem. Plus, it’s easy to get sidetracked by proverbial “squeaky wheels.” At the corporate level, quality data is often inconsistent or incomplete from site to site.
With a digital quality platform, data from multiple plants and timeframes can be pulled together, benchmarked, and prioritized. Enterprise-wide SPC solutions create “report cards” of quality data that are easy to understand and share—so you can clearly prioritize the biggest risks and opportunities. Managers along the chain of command can see quality data and prioritize company-wide responses.
Many operators spend their time reviewing control charts—even digging into data to verify that it is correct. With more data and charts, it’s easy for operators to become overwhelmed or focus on the wrong charts. And do the charts really matter? A visual might be affirming, but it could also be a distraction.
A quality platform reduces complexity by creating reports and control charts automatically, then displaying information tailored to user roles. The software does the mundane repetitive tasks, like looking for violations, and alerts the right people (e.g., an operator or line leader) to fix the issue. That prevents people from looking for problems or correcting anticipated issues instead of actual, statistically confirmed problems.
In an effort to stay within compliance, every organization collects quality data. Most manufacturing organizations apply it tactically to measure and maintain quality—and that’s it. Quality data is then filed away, sometimes literally in filing cabinets, where it sits until an auditor or customer requests documentation. Then, the data is painstakingly retrieved, lacking all context.
With a quality platform, manufacturers can use quality management data to add value and advance strategic initiatives. Quality data never stands alone. It’s integrated with other information—such as supplier data and machine settings—and can be applied through a number of tools to benefit different users’ needs. When an organization’s quality tools and data are completely unified, the underlying intelligence becomes more powerful for the entire organization.