Often consultants see that many measurements are taken during production, but often on an ad hoc basis, sometimes even too many, and in the wrong places. This may lead to a false sense of safety. Only later, it may turn out that flawed product runs and problems during production have been driving costs up.
Quality control (QC) can play a vital role in avoiding this. It is primarily focused on control (predictable production), but if properly organized and used, quality control can also provide a basis for continuous improvement – in particular a steady reduction of variation. A structured quality control approach is part of a successful manufacturing process and provides better control of the production process.
Three levels of quality control
Quality control aims to let production run smoothly, predictably, and at lowest possible cost. In some cases, it helps obtain better control and predictability of existing manufacturing processes. This requires a combination of statistical techniques, engineering knowledge and organizational aspects. Measuring critical parameters and features is an important element and introducing a capable measurement system means you have to measure specific features (product or process variables) appropriately.
Quality shouldn’t only be a matter for quality engineers and operators, but also for senior management. We can discern three levels of quality control:
- Operator level
- Engineering level
- Management level
- Operators measure important characteristics of materials or the production process to determine if the process is still ‘under control’, which means that variation is no more than expected and allowed.
- The second control loop relates to engineering activities: the responsible process engineer will analyze the manufacturing process regularly and based on the outcome of this analysis initiate improvement activities.
- Finally, management has to make improvements possible, for instance by organizing and facilitating training, or providing better measurement equipment or production equipment.
The 10-steps quality control roadmap
If development activities have been carried out ‘properly’, the product and manufacturing process are accompanied by a process control method. If developments haven’t been executed properly or fully, you will see that production departments run into many problems, which need to be fixed after the product launch.
Implementing an effective quality control methodology which enhances production requires a structured approach. We have positive experiences with the ’10-steps quality control roadmap’. When using this, you can be sure that all required aspects (engineering, statistics, and organization) are covered!
For more information about managing production with quality control contact our consultant:
Quality & Reliability Consultant
Philips Innovation Services
Contact our consultants directly