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5 Strategies to Reduce Scrap and Rework in Manufacturing

Updated: Aug 14

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When it comes to scrap and rework, there’s a massive gap between the top-performing manufacturers and everyone else. A survey by the American Machinist shows that leading shops have roughly half the cost of scrap and rework compared to their peers. But that’s only part of the story. These manufacturers also create more than four times the number of units of less-efficient operations.

What’s the secret? End-to-end quality control, from the office to the production floor.

What Causes Scrap and Rework in Manufacturing?

Scrap and rework are byproducts of an inefficient process. Causes can vary, including:

· Machine malfunction

· Human error

· Poor quality materials

· Design changes not communicated

· Design changes not implemented

· Lack of a quality assurance program

These items are controllable and in most cases, preventable with the right processes, systems, and training.

The costs associated with poor quality are high. Every time that you produce scrap or have to rework parts, you’re increasing the cost of production. The American Society for Quality recommends that the cost of quality typically averages 15-20% of sales, but for some service-based manufacturers, it can rise as high as 40%. Investing in improving your performance to reduce scrap and rework can significantly lower the cost of producing parts and increase your profit margin.

A Plan to Reduce Scrap and Rework

When a part is defective or non-conforming or has to be scrapped, it’s costly—especially if it isn’t caught before large-scale production begins. To avoid situations like these, manufacturers need a proactive approach to quality.

1. Improving Communication

Too often, the information needed on the production floor never quite makes it to the people doing the work. Change orders might be made, specs might change, or processes might evolve, yet the employees who need to know somehow don’t.

It’s easy for papers to get missed or misplaced. A plan to reduce scrap and rework should include an end-to-end paperless software solution that tracks every step of the process and is available for view by everyone involved in the process.

2. Organizing the System for Documentation

Your software solution should have a way to store every spec, blueprint, work order, and change order for every piece being manufactured. It should be in real-time so there’s no old information in the system that can lead to errors in the manufacturing process.

3. Improving Change Management

Many errors can be traced back to a poorly executed change management process. When something changes, it should immediately be communicated to everyone. The right Quality Management System (QMS), such as Bluestreak, will keep everything up to date in real-time. It can force operators to accept and acknowledge changes via an electronic signature to verify that the changes have been made and to create an audit trail.

4. Optimizing the Manufacturing Processes

Optimizing the manufacturing process means putting in place a process that recognizes problems so you can take corrective action. It should track machine maintenance to keep things running smoothly, as well as compliance and training requirements, and manage conflicts in equipment or personnel.

Efficient design practices can also be deployed to minimize scrap. Metal stamping shops can reduce scrap by inserting smaller parts into otherwise unused areas. Recovery dies can be implemented to use scrap to produce other parts by stitching it into strips. A scrap materials plan should be instituted to reuse, repurpose, or recycle as much scrap as possible.

5. Implementing End-to-End Quality Assurance

The most efficient service-based manufacturers subscribe to total quality management (TQM) philosophy, including a formal corrective and preventive action (CAPA) program.

The main objective is to identify and eliminate the root cause of quality defects. This means tight control over the entire life cycle of manufacturing, including:

· Production and process controls

· Equipment controls

· Material controls

· Design controls

· Documentation and change controls

For manufacturers, the best way to reduce scrap and rework and adhere to the tenants of TQM is to employ a QMS like Bluestreak.

How Bluestreak Ensures Quality

Bluestreak’s™ Integrated QMS ties quality control and quality assurance directly to individual work centers and processing steps on the production floor, all in one inclusive database with no separate silos of disjointed data.

Users can quickly and simply set up control plans attached to each order that define an order’s specific quality and processing requirements, including:

· Advanced specification management

· Operating instructions

· Inspection and testing requirements

· Data collection

· Sampling plans

· Risk analysis

· Statistical process control

Bluestreak’s QMS enables users to collect quality data directly while providing powerful quality control tools. It creates a complete audit trail for validation and repeatability. This drives quality management from the front office directly to the production floor and ultimately reduces the amount of waste, scrap, and rework.


If you’re ready to leave manual, time-consuming service-based manufacturing tasks in the past, drastically reduce your scrap and rework percentage, gain visibility of your production floor processes, and build better relationships with your customers, contact Bluestreak today!

Bluestreak’s MES + QMS solution helps service-based manufacturers drive quality straight down to the production floor to minimize scrap and rework and therefore, protect their profit margins. If you’re ready to leave manual, time-consuming service-based manufacturing tasks in the past, drastically reduce your scrap and rework percentage, gain visibility of your production floor processes, and build better relationships with your customers, contact us for a free consultation today!

About Bluestreak:

Bluestreak™ is a powerful Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and a fully integrated Quality Management System (QMS), designed for the manufacturing environment and service-based manufacturing companies ( metal-treating/powder-coating, plating, heat-treating, forging, and metal-finishing), businesses that receive customers’ parts, perform a process (service) on them, and send those parts back to the customer). Companies need MES software tailored to specific functionality and workflow needs such as industry-specific specifications management, intuitive scheduling control for both staff and machinery maintenance, and the ability to manage work orders and track real-time data. If different work centers on the production floor aren’t “speaking” to each other via the MES, the data loses value and becomes disjointed or lost in disparate silos.

Bluestreak | Bright AM™ is an MES + QMS software solution specifically designed to manage and optimize the unique requirements of Additive Manufacturing’s production of parts and powder inventory usage.

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