Quality in Manufacturing when managing a mass production line
When managing a mass production line, our primary goal is to ensure good quality in manufacturing and that our products are been shipped to customers on time and at the required quality level. That is why production monitoring is so important.
Your production process is made up of a long chain of separate and probably complex activities. Quality problems will happen and although you are going to do everything possible to minimize them, it is something that you are always going have to deal with.
The challenge of ensuring high level of quality in manufacturing is even bigger when the manufacturing of your products are been done by a subcontractor where your control over quality in manufacturing process is limited and it is difficult to set up proper production monitoring.
Let us review the 8 most important rules that you need to have in mind when establishing a monitoring system for the quality in manufacturing of your production line:
Independence and control:
If you choose a contract manufacturer to run your mass production, you can’t expect the same level of attention to your product and production monitoring in general as you would give it yourself. You hope that your contract manufacturer provides you with required information so that you can close this gap of lack of knowledge and experience with your products.
But! You can’t always rely on receiving this important and complete information about the quality in manufacturing process. And you cannot rely on receiving the information on a timely manner when you really need it.
Therefore, it is essential that you establish an independent and unbiased quality in manufacturing monitoring system. This is critical! You need to have complete control over the content and timing of the information coming from the manufacturing line.
Test checkpoints throughout the production process
Each discrete stage of the production flow should be tested before your product can move on to the next. Ideally you should deploy test stations (manual or automatic) throughout the production process. Testing should start with the inspection of incoming raw material, right through to the final stage prior to the delivery of finished goods to your clients.
Analyzing the testing data
Analyzing the testing data stored in all testing station located on your manufacturing line is very important. This data provides invaluable information. It allows us to conduct root cause analysis of quality issues, and over time improve production quality.
Time is of the essence:
Production downtime is a nightmare for manufacturers. It may lead to significant delivery delays for your customers and damage the heart of your business.
Only proper production monitoring system will help you minimizing this risk. It is essential that you will have a direct and quick access to the data collected from the testing stations which are located on your manufacturing line.
You need to be able to react rapidly. Run root cause analysis. Identify and fix the problem, and resume full production as soon as possible.
“Pass” or “Fail” doesn’t make the grade
Usually testing stations located on your manufacturing line (manual as well as automated) measure several technical parameters. The testing concludes with an indication – “Pass” or “Fail”. If the test result shows a “Pass”, then the unit is moved on to the next manufacturing stage. If the test result shows “Fail”, then the unit is sent to a technician for further analysis.
Why do we usually pay attention only to the “Pass” or “Fail” criteria? Why aren’t we interested in the other tested parameters for better production quality monitoring?
The reason is information overload. When running a mass manufacturing line it is impossible to routinely “digest” all the detailed information collected from testing stations. We usually analyze these data in detail only when a quality problem is found and we are busy finding the root cause of the problem. If we get a ‘Pass’, then all these detailed information is typically forgotten.
A simple “Pass” or “Fail” gives you little or no information about edge cases – where one or more of the unit’s technical parameters are just within its allowed tolerance. Edge cases may lead to unit failure during operation, for example in extreme environments (cold, heat, humidity, electrical overload, impact etc.). For accurate and useful quality data analysis, you need to find a method that will let us routinely review the entire test data for the unit and analyze it in a meaningful way with other tested units, other testing stations and with historic test data. This will allow a proper production monitoring system that ensures best quality in manufacturing.
Visibility of the whole quality in manufacturing process:
The manufacturing process is a chain of separate but dependent assembly and testing processes, which together build our final product.
A technical problem created in one stage of the manufacturing process may only be identified in later test stage of production process. For example, a defective button assembled on a unit may only be found during functional testing, several stages later.
You should expect test results from any of your manufacturing stages to potentially influence other stages in the process. Reviewing and analyzing the data collected in one testing station in isolation is just not sufficient for proper production quality monitoring.
In order to see the entire picture you need to collect and analyze the end to end results according to the severity and the frequency of each problem found.
Being Alerted when something goes wrong:
The manufacturing of your products may be taking place on another continent. It may be taking place in the next room. Either way you need to be alerted so that even if you aren’t there to keep a close eye on each stage in the quality in manufacturing process, you will still be aware of major problems the instant they happen. An automated alert mechanism that generates notifications about critical problems on the production line is an absolute must for production quality monitoring.
Predicting of can soon goes wrong
“A clever person troubleshoots the problems that a wise person avoids in the first place”. Let’s be wise and fix quality issues before they happen. A good way to achieve this is to set up a predictive mechanism that analyzes trends within the testing results and alerts us to potential quality issues.
Quality in manufacturing starts here
QualityLine lets you regain control over the quality of your manufacturing line even if it is located on the other side of the world.
The system helps significantly improve quality, increase yield and minimize downtime incidents.
How does it work?
Testing data is automatically and continuously collected from your testing stations located on your manufacturing line, analyze and securely upload it to analytics dashboards exclusively set for you.
You get 24/7 accurate information about each unit tested. You can overview and drill down up to a single unit, conduct quick root cause analysis and improve production quality.