The No-Fail Way to Manage Supply Chain Risks and Challenges

Douglas C. Fair
By Douglas C. Fair | August 17, 2016
Chief Operating Officer

As a quality professional, the data you typically focus on is generated at the shop floor. Data from a single production line that makes a variety of different products might provide useful information that could help reduce defect levels. Sometimes, you may even analyze data across multiple production lines to gain insight into how to improve quality. But today, the greatest opportunities for making significant improvements exist at the enterprise level. Those improvement possibilities allow manufacturers to increase competitiveness and profitability on a larger scale.

In the past, though, manufacturers have lacked an overarching view of quality across the value chain. These days, you’re already working diligently to improve quality and enact change at a single plant.  And while you’ve made headway at your specific plant, have you considered what your quality initiatives and efforts could accomplish if directed at your supply chain challenges?

The greatest opportunity for reducing costs, increasing profit and improving quality on an enterprise level lies in sharing data across your supply chain.

Look Beyond Your Four Walls for Quality Improvement Possibilities

Quality and customer satisfaction are related to much more than the efforts of your plant’s manufacturing processes. Increasingly, as companies continue to outsource manufacturing work, finished goods quality is closely related to the quality of raw materials and ingredients provided by suppliers. 

Improving quality control across your supply chain can supercharge your quality efforts in the following ways:

  • Decrease your plant’s downtime due to supplier quality issues
  • Eliminate reordering or reworking of supplier products
  • Help your suppliers improve their manufacturing processes; thereby Improving supplier and final good consistency as well as Identifying cost savings passed along to your company
  • Provide visibility into the quality of your suppliers’ manufacturing processes
  • Identify problems with supplier products before they are received by your company
  • Minimize receiving inspection costs
  • Ensure traceability back to the supplier, allowing for improved documentation, problem solving and cost savings
  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Reduce the possibility of recalls

Quality is no longer just about improving at the plant level alone. Great opportunities for enhancing quality are found by tapping into the bigger picture of supply chain quality control. And that means looking closely at opportunities across your supply chain – even into the suppliers’ plants themselves. But how can you convey the urgency of supply chain quality to your partners? Quality evidence helps.

Having the ability to provide data and documentation that clearly communicates the quality of supplier goods is a benefit not only for your company, but for your suppliers. Like your quality efforts, if your suppliers are able to improve their quality levels, they can increase their ability to compete as a supplier.

Manufacturing Quality Control in the Supply Chain

Imagine for a moment just how powerful preventative action can be when it comes to identifying problems with supplies before they arrive on your site, let alone before those products ever reach your customers.

By fully integrating your quality with the quality of your suppliers, and using today’s accessible technology to improve that integration, you can manage quality from raw material, to plant to the final consumer. 

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