If you own a business, you know how important quality control and compliance can be. Products that aren’t up to your needs and specification can cause problems and delays that will cost you money and time.
The best way to avoid problems with the manufactured products that you create or purchase is to have a quality and compliance system in place that allows you to set a standard for your company. Anything that doesn’t meet those standards gets tossed out or remade. A good control system will ensure that you only use products that are good for your company and your customers. Here are a few tips on developing your own quality control system and a few things you need to think about when inspecting manufactured products.
Define Your Limits
The first thing that you need to do when creating a quality control system is to determine what you’re willing to accept as far as defects go. The standards you set are the standards that your business will be known for, so you can approach this however you like. If you want to have very strict guidelines for acceptance, then you may find that you are returning products more often than you otherwise would. On the other hand, if you set your standards too low, you may accept too many products that have detrimental defects.
The key is to determine what you want for your company and your customers. Your customers will become frustrated if too many of your products aren’t up to quality standards, but your company may suffer if your standards are set too high and you spend too much time fixing problems. This could take a few rounds of trial and error to find the right balance, but finding it quickly and sticking with it is a great start to ensuring quality control.
Go Step by Step
Once you have your standards in place, you will need to implement a strategy that will catch any products that do not meet those standards. The best way to do this is to start from the ground up.
Look at your production line from beginning to end, from the initial design of the product to the final packaging and shipping of that product. At each step, observe what goes on and determine if there are any problems: is the design a good one, or are there areas of improvement? Are the raw materials you use good enough? Does each station along the production line create quality work, or are there some things that can be improved?
If you’re in a field like contract manufacturing, it’s important that you get everything correct quickly so you can start turning out your client’s products. If you’re in traditional manufacturing that deals in just a few products, you may be able to implement your strategy more quickly.
Write it Down
After you’ve inspected your line from start to finish, create a guide that all employees and technicians can follow. This will ensure that they know their responsibilities and what to look for as the product makes its way down the line.
Having a manual or guide makes your quality control system more complete. If there are ever any questions or problems, you can refer to your manuals and find a solution quickly and accurately. This means that you should pay close attention to the creation of your manuals and guides so that they will always have the correct information if consulted. It’s also a good idea to make the manual available for your customers as well, so they can see the time and effort you put into ensuring that your products are inspected thoroughly and meet your quality standards.
One of the most important things you can do for quality control is to keep detailed records. This will give you a complete history of the quality of your product that you can refer to whenever you need to.
A product history will let you see all of the quality control problems that you’ve had in the past, allowing you to avoid past mistakes and increase the overall quality of your product. Make sure to record any incidents, from design to inspection to packaging and shipping so you will always have them available for reference. That way, you can spot the big problems quickly and fix them so your customers are happy.
Creating a quality control system takes work, but the end results will be a better product for customers and more revenue for your company.
Ryan Turner has worked in the manufacturing industry for many years, going to work in the family business when he was 18. Since then he has seen many changes, mostly thanks to advances in technology. Read his thoughts and tips on the industry in his articles.