If you\’re buying from a manufacturer around the country or right down the street, you\’ll face the same issues with product quality, shipping delays, cost and safety concerns, and so on. To reduce the quality risks and costs associated with sourcing, we propose five steps that have been proven effective over the course of our three decades of working with clients and suppliers all over the world to ensure great quality products.
You can ensure quality products by analyzing your supplier, testing your product, inspection, knowing your product, and improving.
Analyze your suppliers
Having good quality products starts with you choosing the right manufacturer. You will need to know the manufacturer\’s production process, the materials used, and the equipment. You will also need to know if the manufacturer meets the required standards such as the ISO 9001 which is specific for product quality.
But how do you know if your supplier meets the standards? Have a third-party inspection company run a factory inspection or a factory audit for you.
The following are two traditional general system audits:
Auditors survey prospective vendors to offer input on general processes, quality programs, skills, and capabilities. This crucial knowledge is used to determine whether or not the supplier is a suitable source and future partner.
Supplier Process Control and Quality System – For current or new manufacturers, auditors review all production process control systems. Management, quality control procedures, non-conforming products, manufacturing, corrective action, and inspection and test equipment are all covered by audits.
In general, there are four questions considered to be critical to the audit process:
- Are controls defined?
- Are controls applied?
- Do controls work?
- Will controls last?
Many companies use a supplier rating system to keep track of their results. No rating, just a quality rating, quality, and delivery rating (graphic system), quality and delivery method (cost index method), and a detailed method are all examples.
Develop product criteria/specifications – know your product.
Since a good idea is only as good as its base, thorough and accurate product specifications are essential for success. Knowing the product is a vital aspect of product quality. And that necessitates comprehensive product specifications that specify how the item(s) should be manufactured. What features of the product must be present in order for it to \”meet or surpass expectations?\”
Defect specifics should be included in product descriptions, along with classifications that link to accept/reject decisions during quality control tests. They also define the appropriate quality standards and the supplier\’s expectations. Each flaw is categorized as either major, minor, or critical.
Product testing may be used for a variety of purposes, including deciding whether standards are being met and troubleshooting different issues. Quality is ensured during the manufacturing process by using relevant regional and/or industry-related criteria to assess product properties and evaluate output. Applicable product testing, when used as a proactive tactic, will help you prevent expensive delays and rework later on.
Inspect throughout production
Controlling quality during the manufacturing cycle with product inspections lowers procurement risks and costs. Inspections can be performed at any stage during the manufacturing process, but the greatest advantage is seen when they are strategically used at the start (first-article), in-process (30% -50%), and pre-shipment (100 percent produced and at least 80 percent packaged). The aim is to find, contain, and fix problems as soon as possible.
Inspections usually contain the following:
Quantity verification – Raw materials, in-process parts, inputs (components) from other sources, and/or finished and packaged goods are all examples of this. For each item listed in the inspection criteria, sample sizes are chosen. Acceptable quality standards, or AQLs, are established to determine if a result should be accepted or rejected.
Packaging – Drop-testing is often used to ensure that the device and/or master carton packaging are all in good working order. The state of the cartons and the consistency of the marking are also assessed.
Appearance and Workmanship – Checking for cosmetic flaws such as scratches or dents, as well as ensuring that all parts and accessories are used, are examples of beauty and workmanship.
Function and Performance – Assembly or electrical testing, for example, are examples of feature and efficiency.
Focus on and support continuous improvement
Define, assess, execute, log, and analyze the outcomes.
The following are the outcomes of strategically conceived quality improvement initiatives:
- A reduction in costs due to less reworking, resulting in less scrap;
- An increase in processing time due to less time spent fixing errors and more time spent on value-added activities.
- Increased efficiency as a result of less time spent reworking nonconformities.
- Better partnerships with vendors (partners).
- An overall increase in service quality.
- A decrease in overall costs
One of the most critical factors in achieving long-term revenue growth and profitability is improving product quality. Increasing product quality is a difficult challenge, but it pays off in the form of increased sales and lower costs for companies. Businesses who want to increase product quality must incorporate quality practices into their daily operations. As a result, rather than being an afterthought, quality must be an integral part of a company\’s success and day-to-day operations management.