By Joe Perillo
There is a popular saying within continuous improvement circles: “The best thing about a company is that they will do whatever it takes to deliver the best product or service to their customer.” It also happens to be the worst thing about a company. In any business’ pursuit of client satisfaction, both approaches come with added costs, no matter which way you flip the coin.
Quality is critical to keeping your clients happy. Quality is also is defined by customer specification. Meeting and sustaining that specification is a challenge every organization faces, whether making a product or deliver a service. But for product based companies, implementing one key lean manufacturing principle can significantly reduce stress and costs while dramatically improving quality and profits.
Many organizations tend to take drastic, “whatever it takes” measures to ensure quality during the inspection process. Not only does this add steps and personnel to keep rejected products out of the consumer’s hands, but there are usually additional costs, which are likely not accounted for during the product development stage.
A better way to manage quality and control escalating costs (while boosting profits in the process) is by developing a corporate standard of “Quality at the Source (QatS).” QatS is one of the 14 fundamental principles of lean manufacturing.
In this revised QA methodology, quality checks are built into the manufacturing procedures so that each product is reviewed at each phase of production, providing the following profit boosting results:
1 – Reduced need for dedicated QA personnel.
Using a QatS methodology, it spreads the burden of responsibility for quality to all those working all along the supply chain, rather than having it rest on a select few supervising the end results.
2 – Huge time saver.
Having an opportunity to catch problems and implement corrective action immediately is much better than allowing a product to index to the next station with errors. QatS saves a significant amount of time by eliminating the need for reworking inventory and keeps production on or ahead of schedule.
3 – Minimize wasted materials.
Along with saving tons of time, QatS reduces wasted materials because a product was allowed to proceed through production, only for defects to be identified at the end. With the cost of raw materials continually rising, finding ways to reduce waste is naturally smart (and profitable) business.
All companies who chose to embrace lean manufacturing should understand that implementing QatS is a win-win for themselves and their clients. In the fine jewelry industry, my company’s customers expect exceptional craftsmanship. When we consistently deliver high-quality pieces in a timely fashion, we maintain our good reputation. No matter what type of product you are providing, maintaining pride from development through delivery is important. Utilizing a QatS protocol will make it easier for you to meet consistently or exceed your customer’s expectations and that is always a receipt for improved profits.
About the Author
Joe Perillo is the Chief Operating Officer for RIVA Precision Manufacturing. Joe has over 24 years of experience in leading all aspects of manufacturing operations within a myriad of industries, including: automotive, aviation, industrial equipment and jewelry manufacturing. Joe is also an experienced Lean Manufacturing Specialist leading continuous improvement initiatives via lean principals.
Reprinted from the Summer 2016 issue of Bellwether.
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