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Five Most Important Quality Metrics

June 6, 2014
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In today’s work environment, workers seem to have more on their plates than hours in the day to complete their tasks. Because of this, one can easily lose sight of the most productive work to undertake and instead engage in time-wasting endeavors.

However, managers can use metrics to keep their team focused on the most productive use of their time. This is essential for the profitable and successful running of any business.

Metrics should assess how well business processes are being executed. There are many ways of measuring work and the results obtained from these efforts.

Five metrics that should be considered in a manufacturing environment are:

1. Yield

This measurement quantifies the percentage of correctly manufactured products from a process. Ideally, this process should leave no scrap or require any rework. This quantity is determined by defining the number of the units, which were created by the process divided by the number of the units entering the process over a measurable and defined period of time.

First pass yield is another similar measure, but the rework required to create the produced products is also considered.

2. On-time Delivery

Another metric, which may not be considered by some to be a quality metric, is on-time delivery of the product to the customers. This measurement is simply the percentage of times that the product’s manufacturing process has managed to deliver product at the agreed-to time.

It has been said that a business will only hear from four percent of its dissatisfied customers. However, a dissatisfied customer will often then tell eight to 10 people about their bad experience, while a satisfied customer may tell only five others about a company’s excellent service.

Taking these statistics into consideration, on-time delivery is important to customer satisfaction. Therefore, a metric for on-time delivery would be very beneficial to track over time.

3. Scrap

Scrap quantifies the amount of unused material from a manufacturing process. It can be described as the percentage of materials that will not be in the finished product after having gone through the production process.

Large scrap rates can result in high costs and much wasted efforts. Because of this, efforts should be considered to reduce wastage and also reduce the number of reworks within the manufacturing process. An analysis of the machines, processes or even the resources themselves can help identify a more efficient method, which can be eventually adopted.

Design engineers should closely work with manufacturing operations personnel in the design process to identify solutions to any potential wastage, which could cause the business substantial future losses when the system is later manufactured. Simulations can help identify loopholes in the process before the actual manufacturing process begins. With this approach in development, product designs can be corrected in advance, before irreversible losses occur.

4. Supplier Quality

The supplier’s raw materials can affect final-product quality and also the scrap produced. Therefore, it is important to critically assess the quality and the cost of procured products and materials. A supplier defect rate can be calculated as a simple percentage of the below-required quality of materials received from the supplier.

To offset such losses, supplier charge backs can be used. This methodology refers to the amount of money that is charged to the supplier due to their supplied product or raw materials not meeting the required specifications. The organization can charge the supplier an amount to reflect the entire cost experienced in the manufacturing process because of the non-conformance. This charge back could be significantly higher than the cost of the material supplied itself. This practice will help ensure that the quality of material supplied meets the business? expectations.

5. Customer Dissatisfaction

Customers are obviously important to the business, and a measure of how well the business is doing relative to meeting customer’s needs, wants and desires is important. Listening and fast response rates to complaints through telephone, email or online customer service can be very valuable to ensuring the continued success and flourishing of the business.

Tracking of Quality Metrics

Metrics need to lead to the most appropriate action or non-actions. However, the reporting of metrics can often lead to firefighting or playing games with the numbers in order to appear to achieve expected goals. Also, the reporting of metrics traditionally provides only a historical statement with no predictive estimation.

Organizations benefit when they report their metrics in a predictive format, not only for the above five quality metrics, but for their other organizational measurements as well. This can be accomplished with 30,000-foot-level reporting, as described in transition traditional dashboards to 30,000-foot-level reporting.
 

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