The search for quality in manufacturing is not a treasure hunt. Quality is not “uncovered’ by following the dotted line on a map. Quality is the result of vigilant and dedicated efforts in terms of planning and execution. Without a plan in place, quality just doesn’t happen. So why does the coordination of quality information too often seem like a treasure hunt?
During the entire manufacturing value chain there are numerous activities that require access to quality information:
- Product engineering defines tolerances and specifications.
- Incoming material has inspection criteria.
- Equipment has setting guidelines.
- Operators require access to guide-line documents and inspection instructions.
- Product evaluation has defined control limits.
- Non-conformance evaluations require a departmental authority sign-off matrix.
In many cases there are delays and uncertainty across the entire value chain as quality data is searched for in stacks of paper or from disjointed manual systems. Quality efforts can often suffer from a lack of centralized organizational responsibility. How many meetings or motivational poster boards include some form of “Quality is everyone’s business”? If quality is everyone’s business, then everyone is a stakeholder and coordination becomes more challenging.
Maybe a Vertically Integrated Quality Management System is the Treasure
If we define the X on our quality map as the X in X-functional (cross-functional) then maybe there is a dotted line to quality treasure. An effective quality management system brings planning and execution data into an integrated thread that eliminates delays, provides information version control and ultimately drives operational effectiveness for both production and quality concerns.
Vertical integration is defined as the integration of all upstream and downstream processes that contribute to the quality aspects of manufacturing of a product. At one end of the vertical functional integration is the design of the product and selection of materials. A vertically integrated QMS will include the quality definition of the designed product and the specifications of the contributing materials. The other end of the integrated quality-related functionality
covers the management of product that has already been put into use at the
Quality Management System is a Must-Have
Two out of three manufacturers report that their customers see quality as a must-have and not a differentiator. Check out a recent whitepaper that details the challenges and potential solutions for a vertically integrated quality management system. Manufacturers whose growth and scale require the entire team move beyond treasure hunts and into well integrated activity.