The Art of the Possible - Part 2: Finding Out More About Your Quality Management Software Could Transform Your Business

Brad Forrest
By Brad Forrest | December 13, 2021
Account Manager

Fact checked by Stephen O'Reilly

As mentioned in Part 1 of this “Art of the Possible” blog series, sometimes we purchase something, use it, and never fully realize what we have. It meets a need, and we seem satisfied by that. Then, before we’ve really thought things through, we’re ready to move on to something else.
 
As I stated in Part 1…sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know. I would say that applies too often to InfinityQS’ industry-leading quality management software solution, ProFicient. ProFicient can do just about anything you’d want quality management software to do for your manufacturing operations. But many customers buy it for a specific need and only scratch the surface of what the tool can do for them.
Success Through Quality 
In Part 1, we listed several of the important features that ProFicient and ProFicient on Demand (PoD) have to offer. Let’s continue with that list here, in Part 2. Let’s start with the many ways in which this versatile software can help you with audits.

Audit Support

Audits are often challenging for manufacturers, instilling a mixture of anxiety, stress, and frustration. InfinityQS’ quality management solutions can help you avoid “audit fatigue” by offering substantial audit support.
  • Database Auditing provides full traceability for any modification, edit, or change to any database record.
  • Traceability records are easily viewed in a variety of ways, but they cannot be edited.
  • If a record modification or deletion is attempted, the Reason for Change tracking feature built into our software forces users to select a reason for the modification from a drop-down list, and free-form comments can be entered.
  • When specified, a Change History and Reason for Change Report can accompany any chart printout.
  • Automate processes, documentation, and reporting for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), Sanitary Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP), and regulatory and certification auditing requirements.
“With an audit,” says InfinityQS COO, Doug Fair, in his Manufacturing Challenges blog series, “it is crucial to accurately document irregularities to ensure that all the proper steps were applied. It is vital that manufacturers have a fast and efficient means to identify, trace, and locate any problematic products. Today, companies utilize technology solutions to ensure consumer safety and to protect their brand images.” And that’s where InfinityQS quality management solutions come in. 
Quality Control

Reporting Capabilities

In short, InfinityQS’ many reporting capabilities provide visibility within plants and across multiple facilities—often on a global basis—to do the following:
  • Prioritize improvement efforts
  • Compare production-line capability
  • Ensure product consistency
  • Deliver relevant and timely information based on each user’s role/responsibilities
 
Our robust collection of reports includes, but is not limited to the following:
  • Control charts – over 300 types of charts are available, for both variable and attribute data
  • Pre-Control charts
  • EWMA (Exponentially Weighted Moving Average) – tool wear/depletion monitoring
  • SPC Monitor (for remote viewing of Active Control Charts)
  • Group Charts – used to display several parameters, characteristics, or process streams on one chart to assess the relative uniformity or consistency among the multiple streams of data
  • Pareto reports –
    • Multi-Level – Allows up to six categories to sort and display defect by shift, customer code, employee, lot number, part, or any other descriptor that has been tagged to the data.
    • Can specify a Factor Value for each defect code to reflect time, costs for each nonconforming item, and other key factors
  • Box & Whisker reports –
    • Compare any data on one single report—regardless of characteristics, units of measure, or spec limits
    • Multi-Tier allows viewing of individual box and whiskers as well as up to 5 more levels showing the components of variation that make up their total—overall variability can be broken down by its component sources of variation
    • A unique report to help prioritize your improvement efforts!
  • Capability report (histograms)
  • Scatter Plots
  • True Position Tolerance Plots
  • Trend and Regression Analysis
  • Normal Probability Plots (test if a distribution is normally distributed)
  • Autocorrelation Charts
  • Q-Q Plot Charts
Quality and Process Improvement 

Data Collection

Anything that can be measured, classified, sorted, tallied, verified, or judged can be tracked, analyzed, and reported with InfinityQS’ ProFicient and PoD. When we talk about data collection, we’re talking about the manual, semi-automated, and fully automated collection of measurements, tests, and more. Let’s talk about each of these.
 

Manual Data Collection

Manual data collection with InfinityQS’ quality management software allows variable, attribute, and combined (both) data to be collected in the data collection sequences, as well as checklist data. Data can be collected via touchscreen, keyboard with shortcuts, bar code scanners, or gauging devices.
 
Reasonable limits, which you configure and control, prevent unreasonable values from even being entered by data collectors.
 
To make life easier for your operators, you can embed instructions, and set up alarms, events, and notifications:
  • All 24 standard Western Electric rules, as well as custom rules, are available.
  • Email notifications can be generated for events and alarm violations.
  • Events can generate alarms, including automatically turning the control chart background red; and/or a large red alarm screen is displayed to the user.
  • And emails describing the event can be automatically sent out to the appropriate individuals.
 
Other important aspects of manual data collection in our quality management software:
  • ACC and CAC – Assignable Cause Codes and Corrective Action Codes – can be required or optional (which can be easily reviewed by using the Pareto reports as described above).
  • Equation Editor – When you must monitor a test but cannot measure it directly (for example, volume, density, or true position), you will need to calculate its value based on one or more measured tests or sub-tests.
    • Using the Equation Editor, you can build mathematical operations, from simple arithmetic to advanced functionality like geometric functions (arccosine, arcsine, cotangent, arctangent, etc.) and Boolean logic (if, then, and else statements), that yield a single result, which is stored as a value for the test.
 Data Collection

Semi-Automated Data Collection

Test values can be collected from electronic gauges, checkweighers, and other measuring equipment using serial gauges or Installable Equipment Drivers (IEDs)—instead of entering via keyboard or touchscreen.
 

Fully Automated Data Collection

To accommodate fully automated data collection, our software systems employ a host of additional tools—ADC (DMS & DCS), RAMS & DRAMS, and REMS. That’s a lot of acronyms to digest, so here’s a rundown of these robust tools:
  • Automated Data Collection (ADC) service consists of Data Management Service and Data Collection Service (DMS/DCS) – Automatically capture, combine, and store your quality data from virtually any other sources, including Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs), checkweighers, ERP, MES, Historians, ODBC compliant dBs, Ethernet, and Serial Devices, OPC servers, text files, and more.
    • Imported data can include:
      • Subgroup data
      • Master data
      • Status data (line status)
    • Process correlation – Provides the ability to gain a true understanding of how key process parameters will impact the quality of your manufactured products—do I need to tighten up my control limits to prevent quality problems?
  • Remote Alarm Monitoring Service and Dynamic Remote Alarm Monitoring Service (RAMS/DRAMS) – Monitor selected data streams and look for chart patterns and control limit and specification limit violations.
    • Provide automated alerts for events with data imported via automated data collection.
    • DRAMS requires almost no setup or maintenance.
      • ProFicient – Simply install the software and point it to your ProFicient database, and DRAMS automatically begins monitoring active data streams.
      • ProFicient on Demand – If you choose to use DRAMS with ProFicient on Demand, InfinityQS operates and maintains DRAMS for you in the PoD cloud environment.
      • REMS – when a specific event is detected REMS can launch pre-defined responses from third-party machine controllers, user-specified files, or applications—enabling the remote service to automatically identify and pass information to external systems such as flashing lights on the shop floor, audible alarms, customizable windows that can pop up on any workstation, and more.
      • ADC, RAMS, and REMS are Microsoft® Windows services that run in the background and do not require ProFicient to be running to function—a useful tool in creating a “lights out” manufacturing facility where minimizing human interaction is desirable.
 Success Through Quality

Dashboards

Dashboards are something we discuss a lot here at InfinityQS—because we’ve had them for years in ProFicient and PoD, and because they are a staple in our newest product, the cloud-native quality management platform, Enact®. Some important info about ProFicient (and ProFicient on Demand) dashboards:
 
Control Chart Dashboard
Users see information important to their role—from line operators to plant managers to corporate quality personnel. A shift supervisor overseeing multiple production lines can view process control charts from across their assigned processes. A corporate quality engineer can monitor the quality of a product being produced at multiple plants—without having to visit each plant.
 
The real-time data visualization interface in ProFicient presents quality control charts tailored to the needs of each individual user. This allows each user to monitor the quality performance of their key processes. When any monitored process goes into an alarm state, the control chart background changes color—making it quick and easy for users to know where to focus their attention.
 
Quality Event Dashboard
The Quality Event dashboard provides a live view of quality events as they occur across your manufacturing enterprise. Using a graphical display, the dashboard presents real-time information about process events generated by ProFicient or ProFicient on Demand.
 
This dashboard can be created so users see the quality events important to their area of responsibility. And it includes a Process Activity report that provides users with detailed information regarding the process and the quality events that have occurred.
 
Engineering Mode
You can also utilize the “engineering mode” in the software to provide a smaller dashboard. And users can display multiple charts at once and strategically align the charts for a better overall view of information.
Data Collection and Analysis

Label and Date Code Verification / String Compare

You can avoid recalls caused by use of the wrong package or an incorrect label. And compare a date code with the scanned or entered package value, including “Best By” date. Verification is automatically calculated.
 
Use String Compare to verify labels, artwork, UPC codes, and more. String Compare is a powerful tool. When you enter or scan a bar code during data entry, a new value is automatically compared with the known value for pass/fail results.
 

Acceptance Sampling

We’ve talked about Acceptance Sampling many times in InfinityQS blogs. Most recently, COO Doug Fair discussed it here. “Trust but verify—with acceptance sampling in ProFicient [and PoD]. Don’t just hope everything will be okay,” says Doug.
 
“By not verifying with acceptance sampling, it’s like organizations are driving their manufacturing processes blindfolded, hoping everything will be okay. No matter how well-intentioned, hope is not a strategy.” Truer words were never spoken.
 
ProFicient uses statistical sampling to determine whether to accept or reject an incoming production lot of material—before the materials are put into production. The software offers a General Acceptance Sampling Plan, which utilizes sampling based on the LTPD method, using either variable or attribute data. The Lot Tolerance Percent Defective of a sampling plan is the level of quality routinely rejected by the sampling plan.
 
ProFicient also offers Custom Plans and additional Attribute plans:
  • ANSI/ASQ Z1.4 2003 R2013
  • ISO 2859-1:1999(E) (Single)
  • Zero Acceptance Number (Squeglia) – Table 1a – also known as C=0
    (Generally used in the Automotive industry)
  • Zero Acceptance Number (Squeglia) – Table 1b – also known as C=0
    (Generally used in the Life Sciences industry)
  • Custom plans
Quality Control for Any Industry 
Saving the measurement data – along with the Accept/Reject conclusion—allows Acceptance Sampling procedures to be a tremendous complement to typical quality improvement efforts where Control charts, histograms, Pareto charts, and other statistical analyses can be used to analyze receiving-inspection data, using the statistical tools that are already included with InfinityQS software.
 

In Closing

As you can see, ProFicient and ProFicient on Demand  have a lot to offer--probably much more than you might be utilizing today. They can do just about anything you’d want quality management software to do for your manufacturing operations.
 
But since many customers tend to buy software for a specific need, and can’t get to utilizing the rest, they only scratch the surface of what the tool can do for them. And some of the capabilities I have described in this blog series don’t even require an additional purchase! Just some good thought, and a little effort to put them into action! 
 
If you ask questions and learn all that the software has to offer, chances are you’ll find functionality that can help transform your business. Don’t sell yourself, and your company, short! Isn’t it about time to change/get rid of that pesky cliché, “We don’t know what we don’t know?”
 
 
Take advantage of the technology at your fingertips today: contact one of our account managers (1.800.772.7978 or via our website) for more information.
 
Read Part 1 of this blog series here.
 

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