There is an overabundance of manufacturers and vendors in today’s marketplace. Name a product and, chances are, you could name plenty of name brands and outlets for that product. It’s the wild west out there. Manufacturing competition is at an all-time high.
Take any product that you use in your personal life—an automobile, a table, a pencil, a fork—whatever the product, you will find that there are innumerable manufacturers making it and competing against one another for your dollar. As a result of that fierce competition, quality has become a very clear differentiator, a critical
InfinityQS helps manufacturers face their quality management needs head on with our powerful statistical process control (SPC
) systems. Our quality management systems help today’s manufacturers face the most pressing challenges out there: cutting costs, standardization, visibility, and keeping their technology up to date.
With so many choices, so many prices, and so many companies trying to out-price one another, quality has become super important in today’s consumer-driven world. And everyone wants to buy high quality that is going to last. It's not just about price anymore, it's about quality
. This puts added emphasis on the drive for manufacturers today to continually figure out ways of gaining efficiencies to reduce costs.
Cutting costs, as we all know, is ever important. If you don’t watch the bottom line constantly, you could lose the edge you have. Something that most folks don’t realize is that low quality has a cost, too. My colleague, Doug Fair, InfinityQS COO, wrote in detail about the cost of quality in his blog, What’s the Cost of Quality?
Defects, defective products, anything considered “off-spec,” scrap, rework, and inspection costs—it’s all out there. It’s all negative. And it’s all effecting your bottom line. We, as manufacturers, need to look at our products, inspect them, and make sure (verify) that they’re the highest quality possible. These are all costs that are expensive for organizations to incur.
The idea is to continually cut costs, right? But, I would add, to cut costs intelligently
. Therefore, with this in mind, many organizations out there that are focused on quality; they're not talking about making something out of solid gold and saying, "That's better quality." No, they're saying, "We want to make the highest quality product that's useful in the long term; we want to make it as efficiently as possible, by reducing our internal costs of poor quality. That is, if we don't need to rework, if we don't make any scrap, then our costs are much lower."
I’ve read studies that state that, for most manufacturers, 15% of their costs are based on poor quality. Rework. Scrap. Inspection…and other quality costs. 15%! So, imagine if you could cut that percentage down to, say, under 10%. If you could do that, attain that kind of improvement, then you could undercut the pricing of your competitors and still be providing a better-quality product.
Standardization is Key
Another challenge is standardization. For organizations that have several plants—just five or ten, or thousands around the world—standardization is a huge challenge. If companies can standardize, then they can simplify their operations and then they can cut costs.
Another colleague, InfinityQS VP of Product Management, Eric Weisbrod, has written extensively on standardization
—please give his stuff a read for those precious details. Eric says, “A standardized system costs less, takes less time to deploy, gives you greater insight, and takes less to maintain and expand.”
Standardization can help ensure production line consistency and, of course, consistency of product quality as well. But I would add this: by standardizing, organizations gain valuable visibility
of data they need across all their plants.
Seeing is Believing
Lack of visibility is a big problem across the industry. Organizations are blind to the critical information at each plant. And, surprisingly, some organizations still rely on spreadsheets, even paper-based systems, and those systems simply do not lend themselves well to visibility into quality data. Doug wrote in detail about visibility in his blog, Move Beyond Mere Survival by Fully Utilizing Your SPC Solution
When you don’t have visibility into your data, you’re missing a lot. “With InfinityQS quality management solutions,” writes Doug, “once data has been gathered across your plant, or across multiple plants in a region, or across your entire enterprise, you can go in and do ‘post-data entry analysis.’ In other words, as a quality professional, or an engineer, or manager, you summarize all the data that's been collected, and allow the software and statistical tools to identify golden nuggets of information that you can act upon to make high-level quality improvements across multiple plants.”
This is visibility into your data. “This type of data aggregation and high-level analysis can help you direct Six Sigma teams to areas where their actions can generate the greatest quality benefits for your company. Aggregated data can help direct strategic activities that can point to specific production lines, plants, or product families most in need of improvement.” Visibility is the bulwark of manufacturing improvement.
Keeping Up with Technology
Yet another challenge that organizations face is the need to update their technology. While a lot of organizations think that updating technology is very expensive, I actually think the opposite. Especially with today's new cloud-based technologies.
) is far less expensive and more efficient, frankly, than using spreadsheets and paper-based systems to try to manage quality. Paper-based systems and spreadsheet systems are incredibly costly because they have to be managed, they’re notoriously time-consuming, and they’re cumbersome.
Because the cloud is a relatively new technology, many organizations are reluctant to move—they’re comfortable where they are. (And, let’s face it, nobody likes change.) I would add that an organization that is comfortable today is already in the cloud
and ready to face any challenge.
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.