4 Questions to Improve Manufacturing Quality

posted on: Friday November 13, 2015

If you are looking to improve your manufacturing quality, make sure you ask these four questions about process, customers, and employees.

08-abouta_1Poor quality is one of the most important costs for any manufacturing manager to eliminate. Scrap material and lost labor are extremely wasteful, and a damaged reputation can be devastating. When developing a strategy to improve the quality of your end product, ask yourself these four questions:

  1. What does quality mean to the customer? We all want to make a product “better,” but do we know what that means to the customer? With enough money, almost any improvement is possible, but is it something that is worth more to the client than cost? If you improve a function without raising the price tag, is that function actually desirable to the customer? If not, you’ve wasted a lot of time and energy on something that won’t influence a buyer’s decision, anyway. Understand what is meaningful to your customers. This is something that is much easier to do today, as people readily offer reviews and feedback for other consumers online.
  1. Do you have a team mindset? Sustainable quality can’t be achieved by one person alone. Collaborative efforts bring in several factors that will lend to meaningful improvements: history of the process (why do we do things this way?), variety of perspectives, and input from multiple disciplines. A group perspective will always bring more solid improvements.
  1. Is the cost of quality understood by the entire organization? Fixing the source of a problem is a lot less expensive than fixing a defect once a product reaches a customer. If employees are trained on the big picture – cost multipliers of warranty repair, replacement, and reputation – they will be much more inclined to find the root cause of a problem. Paired with a team mindset, they will be better equipped to identify potential issues along the way.
  1. Are you solving problems completely? Manufacturers will often fix symptoms of failure without realizing they aren’t solving the root cause. Look further back into the process when problem-solving and ask, “What else is possible?” This is a great opportunity to use analysis like the Five Whys, Ishikawa, or the Fault Tree to identify sources. Fixing the root cause of one issue usually ripples out into greater productivity across the board.

When solving problems, don’t forget how many tools out there are designed to improve efficiencies. Equipment like electric-powered tugs make it quick and easy for workers to transport materials throughout a process, resulting in:

  • Fewer man hours
  • Speed without compromise
  • Smoother transitions between stations
  • Higher employee safety
  • Overall more efficient process

To speak with an industry expert about how a battery-operated power tug will improve your product quality, contact Load Mover, Inc. We understand the manufacturing process and continuous improvement. Let’s see how we can help you build a better product: 952-767-1720; info@loadmoverinc.com.