In these days of tightened belts and (extra) lean manufacturing principles, manufacturers are pushed to perform better, offer higher quality, and lower prices—all at once. Regardless of the size of your manufacturing organization, you’re constantly looking for areas to improve and tools that can help you do accomplish these competing objectives. You likely have a list of potential initiatives for addressing all those goals. But how do you identify which items on your list will make the biggest impact on your bottom line?
To Start, Identify Your Challenges
This is a no brainer, right? Every day, you face multiple challenges.
- How can you improve product quality?
- How can you make your products and processes more consistent?
- How can you reduce waste?
- Where are the issues that put your company at risk?
But to get to the heart of these questions and identify your greatest challenges and improvement opportunities, you need to be able to see the bigger picture. You need to know not just the checklists and tallies for a single day or a single production line, but how your whole organization operates. You need to be able to see the challenges and successes of different lines in a single plant, and compare all your plants to pull out the best practices that can make them all successful.
How can you get that overall insight?
The Answer Is Quality
Believe it or not, you already have the information you need; it’s buried in the Quality Management data you collect every day—data that your operators and technicians collect, data from automated systems, supplier data, product data from inspection equipment, and so on. But to get the value this data offers, you must rethink how you use your data—and what quality means to your business.
Your quality data is one of your most valuable resources. It touches every aspect of your organization, providing a vast record of every step that every product you produce takes, from supply chain through production to packaging. In most manufacturing organizations, that vast resource is largely untapped.
Imagine what could happen if you could mine that data—put it all in one place, then pick and choose how you look at it. Imagine you could tweak your searches so that operators get the information they need to correct issues quickly; engineers get the information they need to ensure every piece of equipment is running at top efficiency; quality professionals can see which plants are making the best products.
That capability already exists, and it’s amazing. But collecting data is only the beginning; the real power is the insight the data provides.
When you can tap into your vast quality-data resource, you get:
- Enterprise Visibility: Summarize and aggregate quality data across your enterprise.
- Operational Insight: Uncover information allowing your teams to identify cross-plant improvement efficiencies, and waste reduction opportunities and increase overall profits.
- Global Transformation: Prioritize and deploy global improvement initiatives to make the greatest impact on corporate quality performance and organizational competitiveness.
This idea is a radical shift for many organizations, but it’s a critical one. Your ability to adapt, grow, and compete depends on how well you use your existing resources along with new technologies. Long gone are the days when you could think about quality as the last check box in a series of processes and procedures.
How long is your list of goals right now? A fresh perspective on your quality data can help you narrow down that list and give priority to the goals that will bring you the greatest competitive advantage.
Want to learn more about how to get greater value from the data you are collecting? Check out our white paper Quality Re-Imagined and get an in-depth look at this transformative concept.