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Steps to improve the quality in manufacturing

Every business of every size is always looking for ways to cut costs while still improving quality. This is no different for manufacturing businesses. When this happens, improving quality manufacturing processes can result in decreased waste, better quality products, and an overall improvement in customer satisfaction. There are certain tips that can help any business work toward quality manufacturing process improvement. To implement these tips, it is advised that businesses should develop a committee that is in charge of overseeing any quality improvements, and making sure they come to fruition. While it is best to involve the whole company if possible, in the beginning a committee can help to ensure the steps are completed, and taken from beginning to end. Here are some steps to get you started-

  • Define the process that needs to be improved-This will be the foundation for improving your process. You should begin by naming the process and its purpose, as well as its starting and ending points, inputs and outputs, and your overall requirements. You will also want to clearly identify the customers and suppliers, who will be affected by this process.This is the point to gather all of the applicable data. Rushing through this step may leave you with not enough material to complete the process and bring quality about.
  • Identify areas of improvement that are needed-This part of the improvement process is usually done by selecting a random sampling of a particular product, that is being manufactured. This product is then tested for a variety of things that will have a direct impact on the end user and consumer. This can include but is not limited to: durability, materials, toxicity, etc. There are a number of ways to address this in manufacturing.
  • Identify possible solutions for the problems-Once the problems have been identified, it is important to understand that you must work equally as hard to find solutions for them. You can brainstorm with the committee, or consult specialists in manufacturing that can help you to arrive at the best possible solution. Additionally, you will also want to get feedback from those who work on or with the process on a daily basis. Once you have determined the best solution, then now is the time to develop a more detailed solution for each problem area. In detailing how to solve the problem, you will need to include:a budget, determine what personnel are necessary for making the improvements, conduct a projected cost analysis, and a time frame, for completing the overall improvements. You will also need to determine how the rest of the company will be affected by this, and whether it will slow production at any level.
  • Implement your plan-Now is the time to put your plan into action. After a detailed plan has been made, you will need to implement it to improve your processes. Keep in mind that you will want to involve everyone, from the highest levels of management in the manufacturing company, down to the workers who utilize the process.
  • Continue to evaluate the solution- Once you have put your plan into action and have achieved the results from it, you will need to consistently evaluate your improvement process. Do not be hesitant to ask if the process had its desired effect. Some helpful questions include:
    1. Was the process successful?
    2. Did it fix the problem?
    3. Did it eliminate waste?
    4. Did you implement the improvements on time and within budget?
Remember that all of these factors should be taken into consideration. You should also keep in mind that quality improvement is on ongoing process. You will want to return to this process on a consistent basis to make sure that your manufacturing business is running at the highest quality possible.
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