Keywords: quality control, quality management, quality control methods
Most manufactured products must reach customers' standards as designed at the manufacturing stage. However, low-quality problems keep surfacing in the production department, especially in the food industry. When manufacturers discover a particular batch of their products has been tampered with, they recollect the samples.
Since the pandemic breakout, there have been fewer strict quality control regulations. Now that the lockdown era is over, it is the responsibility of quality inspectors to ensure high-quality goods across the supply chain. Meanwhile, the quality of products should be higher when passed across the wholesales department. If manufacturers understand the importance of supplying the end consumers with the needed products, they will not hesitate to implement appropriate measures.
The pandemic period caused a shortage in supplying raw materials. Thus, companies had to improvise production techniques with their little materials. This also led to non-uniform manufactured products within the same batch or category. It then becomes difficult to identify low-quality products through a statistical approach. Also, some manufacturers rely on second-string suppliers when there is a shortage of raw materials. At this stage, the production system is compromised, and manufacturers are still determining the quality of the raw materials they get.
The supply chain in manufacturing companies is long and difficult to monitor. With a long supply chain, manufacturers need a more competent quality management system. Meanwhile, manufacturers who assign an in-house team for quality management will need more resources beyond the manufacturing stage. This will ensure the end consumers get the same package or product being designed at the manufacturing stage. This article further explains the critical steps in ensuring high quality across the supply chain.
Based on the ongoing tight market competition in several industries, it is understandable when companies outsource an aspect of their production to a third party. However, the quality of raw materials obtained from the third-party supplier can be regulated through the Production Part Approval Process. The PPAP process helps manufacturers ensure their suppliers understand customers' requirements and consistently meet their demands. Any raw materials that need to be revised will pass through the PPAP process before acceptance.
The PPAP process is mainly employed in high-technology manufacturing industries such as aerospace and automotive. The process is quite resources intensive, involving 18 elements for complete product verification, ending with the Part Submission Warrant (PSW) step. To simplify the PPAP documentation processes, manufacturers can participate at their preferred level. For instance, level 1 requires only the PSW document, while the last group, level 5, requires product samples and suppliers' locations. The bulk of the manufactured product will determine the most appropriate level for you.
Every identified change during PSW must be well documented for future reference. This also helps manufacturers to determine how the supply chain specifications are changed over time. The PPAP process is an accepted quality control process, so you can easily access many of the needed tools. However, you need to plan the quality control process and allow people with appropriate training and experience to do the job.
Companies can place a Supplier Corrective Action Request (SCARs) when there is nonconformity in production materials. It is usually a request made when a supplier does not meet the required standard, leading to customer complaints. This quality control method is critical when a company wants to address the root cause of a defect and provide possible solutions. Thus, the suppliers will be requested to include product details, batch, and defect details, in the SCARs document. If you use multiple suppliers, the SCARs help you to identify suppliers that are not meeting the regulatory standard and most likely will stop working with them.
The SCARs process help to foster relationships between companies and third-party suppliers. They will work hand-in-hand in detailed audit, risk, and document management. Both parties can address quality issues and collaborate on implementing effective measures. On the other hand, companies should create mitigation steps and communicate them whenever suppliers join the system. This will encourage suppliers to respond to SCARs issues.
At every growing phase of the company, you want to identify suppliers that can promote the brand's positive image. You must implement Supplier Quality Management to determine if a supplier can meet customers' needs. The qualification process of selecting a proficient supplier must be transparent and well communicated to other team members. More so, quality management should be a continuous process.
It is vital to carry out continuous auditing to ensure suppliers meet with purchasing company's requirements. You can set a specification that every supplier must abide by. You may also implement third-party tools that allow the company to assign tasks to various suppliers. It helps you identify if the materials or ingredients meet a certain standard.
You must keep your communication line open with the suppliers. Communicate your expectations and the state of the product when it reaches the consumers' end. Effective communication will help suppliers understand the critical quality assurance changes. Any supplier that fails to meet the required standard will result in Non-conforming Material Reports (NCMRs). The involved parties should also track the cause of the issue and prevent it from happening again.
Several companies are dealing with market irregularities and inflation. As much as it may seem time-consuming to work with different suppliers, it is one of the best decisions you could make. Getting more suppliers on board is a long-term goal that will help protect your brand's reputation. This also reduces your workload since suppliers will be mainly responsible for solving quality issues. You may also assign a team of quality control experts to handle insurance monitoring, vendor management, and supplier prequalification. This will minimize the risks associated with the supply chain, such as cost volatility, safety, supply disruption, and business continuity.
Involving suppliers in quality management helps you to stay ahead of your competitors. However, you may only get the best result if you foster sustainable performance. It will help you implement strategies to manage your suppliers' behavior and safety. It shows interest in the people you work with while earning their trust. Suppliers may also be trained in business intelligence and how to reach the target audience. This may seem like a lot of work for you, but you can maximize technology, to provide constant communication across systems.
Every material from your suppliers should be inspected accordingly. However, this may take a lot of time, as supplier proficiency will determine the inspection rate. To fast-track your inspection, you may implement the skip-lot sampling process. This process only measures a fraction of the submitted samples. It saves time and is also a cost-effective approach. This may also be used for suppliers you have worked with over time, and you can guarantee the quality of their work or product. However, manufacturers are advised to implement the skip-lot sampling process only when they are sure of getting products of high quality.
You may also implement the acceptance sampling method if you need clarification on a supplier's work performance. You start by identifying the product size and number and the accepted number of defects from running a sample. Once the randomly selected samples are tested, and they reveal results below the minimum fault, the products will be discarded. This quality control method also saves time and cost. It prevents wastage without destroying products.
Tracking product quality along a long supply chain may seem stressful and impossible, but you do not have to do the work yourself. This is why the skilled and expert professionals at EC Global Inspection Company are available at your service. Every inspection is carried out to confirm the manufacturing company's goals. The company is also familiar with the production culture across several regions.
EC Global Inspection Company has worked with diverse companies in various sectors and has mastered the skill of meeting each company's demand. The quality control team does not generalize but complies with manufacturing companies' needs and goals. Certified experts will inspect every consumer goods and industrial production. This ensures that consumers get the best from their manufacturers by testing and auditing the production process and raw materials. Thus, this inspection company can join in quality control starting from the pre-production stage. You may also seek the team for recommendations on the best strategy to implement at a lesser cost. EC Global Inspection Company has the interest of its customers at heart, thus providing top-notch services. You can reach out to the customer service department for more inquiries.