Reading Time: 6 minutes
Mastering Shop Floor Efficiency: 6 Essential Quality Control Strategies
No matter how efficiently your manufacturing operation runs or how innovative your policies are, there's always an opportunity for enhancement. This is particularly true for quality control on the shop floor. Here, we delve into six pivotal ways to upgrade quality control in your facility:
Setting Clear Quality Standards: The journey to improved quality control begins with a fundamental question: What does quality mean in your facility? Determining your acceptable defect rate and identifying critical process steps for enhanced oversight are essential.
Comprehensive Employee Training: Quality control is not just the responsibility of a designated officer; it's a team effort. Cross-trained employees, equipped with the right training, can contribute significantly to spotting inefficiencies and preventing errors. This inclusive approach not only enhances quality control but also empowers employees to focus on Total Quality Control (TQC) and just-in-time (JIT) production to reduce defects dramatically.
Leveraging Technology for Quality Control: Embrace technology to enhance efficiency and quality. Bluestreak™ QMS + MES technology significantly enhances efficiency and quality control in manufacturing through various features:
Automated Processes: Bluestreak™ integrates automated processes within its system, allowing for real-time management of key product decisions. This capability helps in avoiding delays, scrap, rework, increased costs, and audit issues, thereby streamlining the production process.
Compliance Management: Bluestreak™ eases the management, tracking, and documentation of compliance specifications across diverse sectors like Aerospace, Automotive, Defense, and Medical. This comprehensive compliance capability also reduces audit times by up to 50%, ensuring higher adherence to industry standards.
Enhanced Job Tracking and Inventory Control: Bluestreak™ improves overall quality and reduces re-work by linking quality management initiatives directly to equipment operators. It also enables better inventory control by linking items to specific vendors or parts and managing multiple suppliers and inventory locations effectively.
Integrated Quality and Specification Management: The system allows for the setup of quality control plans attached to orders, defining the necessary quality and processing requirements. This includes operating instructions, verification and validation signoffs, inspection, and testing requirements, while also collecting quality data in real-time. Furthermore, it simplifies job processing by linking quotes and work orders to current specification requirements and keeping track of all revisions.
4. Upgrading Equipment & Technology: Upgrading machinery and software technology is essential for improving quality control, mainly due to the rapid advancements in manufacturing technologies. For example, newer heat treat furnaces are equipped with advanced integration features that significantly enhance quality control. Automated temperature control, for example, adjusts temperatures automatically based on the heat treatment process requirements. Additionally, furnaces can be equipped with sensors and software for real-time monitoring, and data logging, to enable immediate adjustments as well as controlling and managing recipes, parts, alarms, and production reports. Integration with predictive maintenance software provides alerts about potential equipment failures, thus reducing downtime. Remote control and monitoring capabilities allow operators to manage furnace settings from afar, maintaining quality control. Collectively, these integrations boost the efficiency and reliability of heat treatment processes, leading to enhanced product quality and reduced waste.
5. Developing a Response Plan: A robust response plan for quality errors and safety is crucial. Appointing a quality control officer or a rework specialist can make addressing quality issues more manageable. Project risks are uncertain events that can influence a project either beneficially or detrimentally. It's essential for control officers/project managers to develop risk response plans outlining strategies to mitigate the adverse effects of risks.
It is also important to recognize that risks can also present positive outcomes. For instance, negative risks might include disruptive events like a storm causing production halts, while positive risks could involve scenarios like a significant drop in material costs. In project management terminology, negative risks are typically termed as threats and positive risks as opportunities. Effective risk management involves having a risk response plan to address both.
6. Maintaining a Clean Shop Floor: A clean and well-maintained shop floor is fundamental to a safe and efficient work environment. Implementing and documenting cleaning procedures ensures that housekeeping tasks are regularly and effectively performed. Adopting practices like the "Pick Up As You Go" method helps in maintaining cleanliness, reducing accidents, and ensuring the overall well-being of employees.
In conclusion, don't wait to enhance the quality control on your shop floor. The quality of your products is a direct reflection of your brand and can significantly impact your reputation. By taking proactive steps to master these 6 Quality Control Strategies, you can ensure the production of high-quality goods and maintain a strong brand image.
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 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.