SPC 101: How to Improve Traceability
Leave no doubt about a product’s history by leveraging real-time data collection and analysis.
Recalls happen, even at facilities known for their airtight quality measures. That’s why a modern SPC software with complete traceability from raw materials to finished goods is indispensable to quality engineers who thrive in the digital age.
With a Cloud solution, manufacturing suppliers can access real-time statistical analysis and observe trends in the quality data as it is being collected during the manufacturing process, and without having to step foot on a shop floor.
The quality team also can set up alerts within the software that will let the right people know not just when a product has gone out-of-spec, but also when the process looks in danger of deviation—preventing costly quality issues before they arise.
However, if an issue does slip through that impacts final product, the same Cloud-based solution can be used to trace the issue back to its source. A wealth of historical data can be retrieved, including temperature, light, humidity, cross-storage, and whatever other variables the manufacturer wishes to track, to provide a full and detailed picture of the product’s journey. This not only helps customers to understand exactly what happened to their product but empowers the manufacturer to make precise and preventative quality improvements.
Having complete visibility 24/7 also means that suppliers who are willing to use the software with a recall prevention mentality will greatly reduce their risk of not just recalls and defects of any kind. Moreover, if a supplier can confidently determine exactly where, when, and how a product originated, the amount of time and money saved in one’s operations could be game-changing.
Immediate Data Exchange
When customers seek answers about a product, they want specifics and details—not some vague overview of the product’s history before they received it.
Additionally, if a manufacturer’s quality assurance plan requires 100% compliance to customer specifications, then that manufacturer needs to trust that their data is 100% accurate. They also should be able to quickly and easily share the data with their customers so they too can trust the results and move on to the next issue at hand.
Therefore, obtaining data at the point of manufacture that is analyzed in real-time is key to satisfying customers and accelerating improvement cycles. This starts with being able to view a complete picture of production from start to finish, and continues with the supplier being able generate and share detailed electronic batch records with internal and external customers.
For example, InfinityQS’ Cloud-native SPC software options allow the user to share data with customers on demand, along with additional information that includes customer requirements and operator logs.
Mitigating the Impact of a Recall
Here is an example of how one manufacturer used intelligent SPC software to quickly identify a tainted product and strengthen their customer’s trust:
A manufacturer of pre-packaged dinners was notified that one of its spinach suppliers discovered E. coli in the raw spinach. At that point, a recall was initiated, requiring all affected foods to be pulled from the shelf. However, with the assistance of InfinityQS ProFicient, the company was able to quickly identify the affected products and where they were distributed.
The ability to precisely track the affected spinach from the supplier was made possible through lot genealogy and by tagging products with production data (line, shift, operator) and supplier data (name, date, inspection). The ability to quickly dispose the tainted product lead to a significant decrease in E. coli exposure, strengthened brand trust, and reduced the costs associated with a recall.