Every manufacturer talks a good "quality" game, but for some the ability to consistently match and exceed customer expectations seems too difficult and expensive a concept to pursue. And yet, according to analyst firm Aberdeen Group, best-in-class manufacturers are not only able to produce higher quality products while increasing customer satisfaction, but they're doing this while investing less in both cost of good quality as well as cost of poor quality. The difference between "good" and "poor" quality is measured by how much it costs to conform (or not conform) to customer requirements in product and processes.
Based on a recent survey of senior manufacturing executives, the Aberdeen report indicates that "the top strategic action taken to address the market pressures around the cost of quality is to create and improve visibility and control over quality processes across the manufacturing operation and the supply chain." This action, the report states, is taken by 55% of best-in-class manufacturers, and 52% of all other respondents.
One of the surest paths to best-in-class status, Aberdeen asserts, is the adoption of an enterprise quality management system (QMS), which offers companies the ability to define common goals, objectives and metrics to measure performance across the supply chain. 88% of companies defined as best-in-class reportedly have or are implementing a QMS at the enterprise level.
The accompanying PACE (pressures, actions, capabilities and enablers) chart illustrates how manufacturers can progress from identifying a problem to focusing on a solution, and as a result become best-in-class themselves.
- Need to ensure customer satisfaction
- Need to reduce the cost of quality
- Create/improve visibility and control into quality processes across manufacturing operations and supplier networks
- Minimize scrap, rework and returned materials
- Build in complete product and process traceability into production process
- Create/improve communication and collaboration across engineering, procurement, manufacturing and distribution
- Standardized processes for responding to adverse events across the enterprise
- Dynamically update quality business processes as best practices emerge
- Cross-functional continuous improvement teams are focused on improving enterprise quality processes
- Monitor adverse events in real-time
- Automated data collection from across manufacturing operations
- Operational metrics are linked with financial metrics
- Document management
- Statistical process control (SPC)
- NC/CAPA (non-conformance and corrective & preventive action)
- Automated product quality planning
- Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA)
Source: Aberdeen Group