How to introduce clear rules on quality control

Table of contents

    The method

    The easiest method of checking if you have clear rules on quality control is a 0/1 possibility of establishing who was responsible for the mistake: an employee or quality rules failed, each time the job botched was spotted.

    You might be shocked, but it is important to say that the role of an employee isn’t guessing how to do things the best for the company, knowing everything, and perfectly balancing efficiency with care to detail…

    Why is it worth creating and developing clear rules regarding shop floor control:

    1. OPTIMIZE THE COST – this is not a coincidence, who decides which % of the time is optimal for monitoring and … of course, there are fewer complaints.
    2. AUTOMATION – with each job botched (and they always will happen) there is something you can fix, to avoid it happening again;
    3. TIME-SAVING – you can introduce new employees much faster;
    4. BETTER RELATIONSHIP WITH THE STAFF – everybody knows what to do and how good they work (it is also proof in labour court if you want to punish an employee).

    Imagine how you would work, whether many daily used devices such as laptops or cars were made if thousands of people were involved in the production process, we’re only guessing if they did their job correctly?

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    How to create good quality control guidelines:

    Speaking from 10 years of experience in consulting and observing companies in the automotive industry, there isn’t a better option than creating and placing near workstations quality guidelines in the form of a table. Columns that may appear there can include information about:

    • Who: so who is performing monitoring, because ex. an operation can be controlled twice: by an operator and at random by a foreman
    • What: whether a parameter is checked, ex. Color, weight, lack of sharp edges, etc.
    • How and What with: the checked colour ex. Using a sampler, by the naked eye, in the laboratory, against the light?
    • How often? Each piece, 1 out of 100 or maybe the first 5 and then every 10?
    • How should it look? The difference of 1 shade, no smudges, 98% accurate?
    • Remarks? Here you can write different tips based on your experience ex. that colour has to be checked after 2 minutes from leaving the machine
    quality control

    In my opinion, using photographs with examples of OK / NOK  to visualize potential defects of the product is 100% necessary, and it has the greatest influence on the effectiveness of quality control.

    Feel that organization pays off.

    1. Designated areas marked at the production hall and the warehouse

    The principle is straightforward: designate the area near the machines and in your manufacture to:

    • Use the space optimally and facilitate the transport of materials;
    • Quickly recognize 4 types of products: in production, to be checked (if it is the last stage), Checked OK, Incompatible NOK
    • Prevent mixing your products from different categories (especially OK and NOK)
    quality control
    quality control

    When you think about designated areas, you probably have in mind painted lines on the floor, but the choice is much wider: markings on the walls, colourful containers, tags on pallets –  it should be convenient and practical for you. There are a few more TIPs below:

    • Instead of directly painting lines on the floor, it is better to test them with special floor tapes, where it will be easy to adjust the right setting;
    • Regarding colours: in production; items checked; incompatible
    • The best way is to have double areas by machines (for processing and after processing),
    • Very clearly separated checked products from other categories
    • It is recommended to use some simple numeric system for the production hall and machines

    Similarly, you can use the area policy / other markings inside the warehouse (both for dispatching and collecting materials). Exemplary areas to design inside the warehouse (depending on the industry):

    • stock: keeping ready-made goods / raw materials, checked by a stock boy, and indicated as „in stock” in a computer system
    • unloading – unloaded from the truck, waiting to be checked and placed
    • incompatible – incorrect deliveries to be returned/awaiting an explanation
    • to be dispatched – items prepared by the stock boy and ready to be sent
    • packaging/preparation: the area to complete the orders.
    1. Mark items/batches with one number,

    If I approached a pile of products being produced at your production hall, would it be possible without guessing to verify which products are they, for whom they are being made, and what is the stage of that order?

    In practice, it is a piece of paper with a penned number of the order, and alternatively, the number of pieces is sufficient. Then it is possible to check on the computer/board with a production plan, who is working on them, and how many are there ready-made.

    Regarding the number, it is best to use your own internal number, than the one provided by the Client. It is best to use numbers like the ones used by Prodio, so the following order number/year.

    A common practice is putting the order number on the packaging / final product. Thanks to this approach, it is easier to respond to potential complaints because you can find the system’s order and see the working history with 100% effectiveness.

    Just START, and you’ll see it is not that bad.

    While reading previous advice, you thought: „WHEN AM I GOING TO DO ALL OF THAT? IT WILL TAKE AGES! WE HAVE TO PRODUCE, NOT PLAY MANAGERS”. 

    Please note that there are 3 typical mistakes regarding the development of your production:

    Don’t do it at all – if you are scared but the amount of work to optimize your production, you put things off for the time when there will be fewer orders…but this will never happen, and the chaos will prevail, or you will be only searching for new orders and new customers.

    It’s a one-off revolution in the company (it is usually connected with an audit for a client / ISO 9001 / there was a big fuck up). New documents and new tools are created in a rush, but later everything goes to a folder because nobody believes in it.

    You analyze too much: it is easy to see based on a software example when you do many different tests searching for a perfect solution, but picking faults in each system until you opt for a customized solution, which is too expensive…

    For more information on how production management software can simplify the ISO norm system in your company:

    How to simplify your ISO 9001:2015 system at production?

    Just hearing the words “ISO compliance” is often enough to send a chill through the...

    HOW TO DO IT IN 2021 TO BE SUCCESSFUL?                                        

    Superb know-how regarding products built-in real-time!

    What you really need is REAL-TIME DATA, and you have the whole of 2021 for it.  That’s why it is so important to do everything in real-time.

    With each product/type of product:

    • Open a card / create a new product in your software – but write only essential data for the worker to see.
    • While producing something, go down to the production hall, take a photo (cleanup pictures if necessary) and write exact parameters – do it on your mobile phone best.
    • Observe/talk to your employees – let them share some details with you, which are worth adding for future use.
    • After finishing production verify productivity based on the real production data and then enter them into your system.

    …after 3 months, you will have so much data that it will pay for the effects?

    Instead of looking for expensive ERP-s, start with something simple!

    The discussion is it worth spending huge amounts on ERP systems is a long one because many companies after introducing such systems see more disadvantages than positives – so be wiser.

    Instead of analyzing and debating, introduce Google Docs / Prodio in your firm today, test it, and you know what…  …even if after 6 months you decide that it is too simple for you, you will know exactly what data is needed in the ERP system.


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