Ever notice how some of the better movies are adaptations of plays, novels, or novellas? Those movie makers realized that sometimes, starting from scratch is more difficult than taking a fully realized idea and bringing it to life. Starting from scratch can be a big undertaking and can be cost-prohibitive—even downright scary. Why re-invent the wheel when all the requisite parts are right under your nose?
That practical concept applies the same way to manufacturing quality management. Are you looking for a means to increase output, decrease costs, and improve quality across your manufacturing organization without breaking the bank? You don’t need to invest in expensive replacement technology; nor do you need to settle for the legacy proprietary system and limited functionality you’ve been limping along with for a while.
The optimal solution is likely in your hands already. You simply need a way to transform your organization’s scattered quality data—regardless of where it’s collected—into actionable insights you can use anywhere across your process, plant, or the whole enterprise. You need visibility.
Fortunately, modern Quality Intelligence software solutions can help you get that visibility and leverage it effectively. Here’s what to look for.
Recipe for Visibility
You probably already have the primary ingredient for expanded visibility: an abundance of process- and quality-related data.
That’s right! The data you’re already collecting! Too often, companies “silo” or quarantine their quality data in site-specific databases or (worse yet) tuck it all away in file cabinets. You need the right method to expose all your data, regardless of location, and turn it into something useful and sustainable that you can access when and where you need it.
How can you approach this challenge? A successful enterprise visibility solution has several hallmarks:
- Data aggregation
- Collaboration and mobility
- Support for both historical and real-time analysis
- Built-in integration and flexibility
- Reduced burden on IT resources
Let’s take a look at the way these elements work for you.
With the right solution, disparate data can be aggregated so that information from different sources can be displayed together, regardless of where the data comes from and how it is collected.
A platform that can aggregate data from multiple locations, devices, or databases into a centralized, unified data repository can give you the long-term, large-scale view that elevates your decision-making.
Collaboration and Mobility
Ensuring consistency across products, processes, and plants is a mandate for most manufacturing organizations today. Data that used to be visible only to a line manager needs to be available to corporate quality or process improvement professionals anywhere in your organization—anywhere in the world.
Your key stakeholders need to communicate and solve problems, no matter how far apart they are geographically. Your chief operating officer should be able to view operational performance metrics on a tablet while your plant floor supervisor stays fully informed of current operational activities from their office laptop.
A cloud-based approach and mobile technology can facilitate your ability to access data anytime, anywhere. An on-demand, cloud-based solution supports access to data through any type of device, enabling better collaboration across the enterprise and shortening the time to action if a quality issue arises.
Support for Both Historical and Real-Time Analysis
Identifying high- and low-performing production processes is a key challenge for any manufacturing enterprise. The right solution collects and unifies historical process and quality data and presents it so that anyone can compare production performance across multiple dimensions of the enterprise, locally as well as across multiple plants.
Of course, real-time quality systems are particularly important to plant-floor personnel, who need to know as soon as possible when a high-value manufacturing process is degrading. Real-time control charts, presented as an operator display, offer process variation data in live, dynamic plots that automatically update.
A solid solution will also let you set up rules for automated notifications and alerts that warn you if data indicates that quality has fallen outside your defined parameters.
Built-In Integration and Flexibility
You might worry whether a robust visibility solution can integrate with your existing quality management systems or databases without requiring expensive upgrades or technology replacement. That’s a legitimate concern.
Beware of solutions that require the purchase or use of a highly proprietary reporting or intelligence software—these systems lock you in with one vendor or don’t offer a full range of functionality.
Reduced Burden on IT Resources
Today, you probably need to justify every penny of IT cost. Any visibility solution must be user-friendly and preferably easy to install, deploy, and maintain.
The best visibility solutions work with practically any infrastructure and database. In addition, a solution that offers self-service reporting capabilities can deliver significant savings in your use of IT resources.
Questions to Consider
With a visibility solution that meets these demands, you gain the ability to answer some pretty vital questions:
- How can I optimize quality production for a given product?
- How can I be sure a specific line is operating at full capacity?
- How can I apply the successes of one plant to all sites?
- How can I standardize processes and production across all sites, especially when those sites span several countries?
- How can I generate reports that meet the needs of a variety of employees and teams or that show customized data views without placing additional burdens on IT resources?
- How can I reduce the complexity and time demands of audits and regulatory compliance?
- How can I compare processes across the plant or across multiple plants?
The benefits of multiple plant or enterprise-wide visibility are many—and so are the available software options. Many companies have already invested heavily in some type of solution. These systems can provide some level of enterprise visibility, but they aren’t all equally useful.
InfinityQS offers a solution that can work with existing systems and a multitude of databases, measurement systems, and technologies—right out of the box. To learn more about the advantages of true enterprise-wide visibility into quality data, please read our free white paper Enterprise Visibility: See the Opportunities You’ve Been Missing.