In the modern world, focusing on excellence and quality in products and services is often the only possible way to compete in a global market.
Quality control is crucial for companies aiming to maintain their competitive advantage, reduce costs, grow their business and constantly improve.
But when things don’t go as they should, quality problems can increase production costs, threatening profit margins.
What types of quality control are used in manufacturing?
Quality control in manufacturing involves a range of activities to ensure that the products manufactured meet the specifications required by the customer. These activities include control of incoming materials, control during the production process and control of finished products.
Quality control is typically carried out based on internal control plans that define all control activities, together with applicable procedures and acceptability criteria – it is also vital that the control activities carried out by operators are recorded to be able to perform statistical analyses and to be able to ascertain, after the fact, whether the activities were really carried out and by whom.
Finally, quality control focuses on the finished products to ensure that they conform to the specifications required by the customer. This phase includes tests, inspections and conformity checks that are carried out before the product is delivered.
Incoming quality control
Controlling incoming materials is crucial as it prevents non-conforming materials from being fed into the production process, thus avoiding a waste of resources. It is often accompanied by verification that suppliers are properly qualified. The incoming control can be either documentary – by checking the certificates submitted by suppliers – or by carrying out the required tests directly at the supplier’s premises or its own facilities.
It may take the form of visual tests, dimensional tests, or the performance of industry-specific tests to ensure that design specifications are met before going into production. For example, it may include checks for expiry dates for sectors such as food and pharmaceuticals.
Quality control during the production process
The purpose of quality control during the production process is to prevent problems related to outdated documents, poorly maintained machinery or simply staff carelessness leading to products or services that do not meet customer expectations.
The idea is to monitor and detect quality problems before they occur or while they are occurring to reduce any drop in quality levels and avoid rejects or rework.
The final inspection is when the quality technician takes measurements of the finished goods to ensure they have been produced to the required specifications. This stage can include many of the checks also used for in-process inspection and is essential to ensure that the finished product meets the contractual quality requirements to the customer’s complete satisfaction.
Why is quality control important?
Quality control in production is vital for several reasons. Firstly, efficient quality control allows the company’s production processes to be monitored by verifying that they are designed correctly and function as intended. An optimized process in all its parts is one of the conditions for quality manufacturing products. The reporting of too many quality problems, on the other hand, may indicate that the production processes have been poorly designed or that there are problems, e.g. related to the sourcing of raw materials or the management of documentation or personnel.
Secondly, quality control is essential for monitoring costs. Rejection of incoming materials due to poor quality not only signals problems in the supply chain and purchasing system but can increase production costs by generating process delays. Quality problems that require rejection or rework during the production process are all the more costly the further along the process they are revealed.
A finished product rejected due to insufficient quality will cost the company far more than the materials at the start of production.
Finally, quality control is vital for the company’s brand reputation. A drop in quality can lead to delays in delivery times, threaten customer satisfaction and create the risk that loyal customers will abandon the brand for better options.
How to implement quality control in manufacturing?
Of course, it is not enough to simply believe in the importance of quality control. While understanding it is crucial, the second step is to start putting these concepts into practice and design and implement efficient quality control methods in manufacturing processes.
Here are some of our top tips for setting effective quality control standards in manufacturing.
Think like a team
To ensure effective quality control standards in manufacturing, involving every team and department in the quest for improved quality is important. This means embracing the idea of working together as a collective and enlisting everyone’s help and ideas in supporting and implementing tools to optimize collaborative processes and the sharing of information in real-time and a structured manner.
Think like the customer
To identify improvement opportunities, striving to adopt the customer mindset is crucial. Companies can try to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and identify areas where the product could be improved. In this way, they can gain valuable insights into what customers want and need from their products and work to meet those expectations.
Solve problems before delivery to the customer
Companies should try to solve problems internally before products are delivered to customers. If there is any indication that something might be wrong with a product, it is essential to keep working on it until the team is confident that the product will work as it should.
Companies should not settle for partial solutions when it comes to solving problems, and they should try to solve every problem 100 per cent and ensure that issues do not reappear after several months of use. This is because it is cheaper and more efficient to solve the problem from the beginning rather than having to fix it after a customer has already discovered it. Companies can also avoid damaging their reputation by ensuring that products are problem-free before delivery to the customer.
InspecTeam and quality control
InspecTeam is a company dedicated to quality inspection in various sectors, including manufacturing. Quality control in manufacturing is essential to ensure that products conform to quality standards and meet customer requirements. InspecTeam offers inspection, audit and expediting services to ensure that manufacturing companies comply with contractual requirements.
In addition, InspecTeam works with companies to optimize quality assurance and quality control procedures. Our experience and expertise in the quality field enable us to optimize processes and provide solutions to ensure compliance with quality requirements.