Wasted materials, recalled products, and rework are unfortunate consequences of a manufacturing process that isn’t running as smoothly as it could. Boosting quality, however, can significantly reduce these outcomes, which in turn accelerates throughput and increases customer satisfaction. Manufacturers also can improve their bottom lines by moving products faster through their plants and avoiding costly quality issues.

One of the best ways to minimize waste and its attendant costs is to optimize real-time and quality-intelligent data from a robust SPC solution. Here are three ways that manufacturers can use real-time SPC software to cut waste and save money.

Take out the guesswork.

Before real-time SPC hit the market, manufacturers often had to guess exactly how and when a process went awry. Modern SPC with real-time data collection and analysis obviates this kind of guesswork by showing the user a clear picture that reveals not only when a process went out-of-spec but also when it became wasteful or otherwise inconsistent.

With the ability to accurately pinpoint a quality issue and trace it back to its source, manufacturers can fix problems more quickly and with certainty. Plus, if their solution is a Cloud-based SaaS platform, they can cross-check with other sites, lines, products, and processes to see if the same or similar issues are cropping up in other areas.

From there, quality managers at each site can institute contingencies, based on historical and empirical evidence, to ensure that the same problems don’t reoccur.

Enable automation.

With a platform like Enact from InfinityQS, users can set up automatic alerts and alarms based on the data that is being collected and analyzed on the shop floor in real time. Notifications can go out when a process changes enough to be considered out-of-control or when data falls outside of specification limits that define a product’s acceptability.

In either case, the right people will know about quality issues the moment they arise and be able to make adjustments before the product is affected.

Moreover, replacing manual data entry with automated data collection eliminates human error, a prime if unintentional cause of waste and defects. Automation also frees up operators  to concentrate on other tasks and allows managers to schedule quality checks.

Roll up data for a big-picture view.

Increased visibility across multiple processes, lines, or products in one plant or across sites in an enterprise is one of the biggest advantages of Cloud-based, real-time SPC. By combining aggregated and historical data across multiple operations, users can track trends and variations that clearly lead to waste—even for products and processes that fall within specification limits.  

Beyond revealing quality issues, quality-intelligent data can isolate the exact cause of the problem, down to a specific machine, shift, or production line, by charting multiple key characteristics in a single view.

With Enact, users can open up a standard control chart to see potential and mounting problems—like thicknesses running high, though not yet outside of specifications—that can be stopped before waste accumulates and becomes costly.