As we come to the end of 2020, we see manufacturers shifting their focus. For much of the early part of the year, they were fully invested in adapting to a major disruption, adjusting and pivoting to ensure their organizations survived. Now, those organizations are looking beyond survival mode. They are aiming not just to survive and recover but also adapt and thrive.
They are building resilience. But to do that, manufacturing leaders need the ability to see the bigger picture of their operations.
When you want to see the landscape ahead to plot your course, the best place to be is up high. Generals on the hillside see the battle better. Hawks riding the thermals have a commanding view prey hiding or scampering. Satellites provide us with awesome overhead views of our world that help us better understand weather and nature. The big picture view is invaluable.
From the 30,000-foot view, actionable operational insights about your manufacturing processes, logistics, and operations enable you to start developing and applying best practices consistently across all your plants, lines, processes, and products.
Broadening Your Quality Management Horizon
This is where things get interesting—assuming your quality management solution provides true enterprise-wide visibility. And that can be a big assumption.
But visibility across all the data in your enterprise is essential for studying variances over time. By searching for patterns or trends, you can determine exactly what might be the root of a problem—and you can also discover opportunities to improve quality across a production line, across a whole plant, and even across your entire enterprise.
With the level of visibility that a centralized, unified database provides, you can determine which processes or practices provide the best consistency and efficiency. When seen at the 30,000-foot level, such useful and actionable insights about your processes and operations—delivered visually through easy-to-interpret charts—enable you to start developing and applying best practices consistently across all your plants, lines, processes, and products. Now that’s something to strive for.
Posing New Questions Improves Quality
The questions you pose in your weekly staff meetings change from “What do we focus on to make the greatest improvement in quality?” to:
- Which regions/plants/lines have the highest/lowest defect rates?
- What single global quality issue, if eliminated, could generate the greatest bottom-line benefit?
- Which processes or sites are most or least efficient?
- What global quality success, if replicated, could dramatically improve enterprise performance?
- Which regions/plants/lines should be leveraged to produce specific products at the highest quality and lowest cost?
- Which suppliers are meeting/not meeting my quality needs? What are the issues?
- Which regions/plants/lines consistently make the highest/lowest quality products?
To answer these questions, look for a quality management solution that features a robust, cutting edge analytics engine and intuitive reporting options to sort through the data.
The best thing you can do for your operations is make your data more easily consumed and understood.
When you conduct your search for quality management software products, ask for a good look at reporting and see whether data from many different plants can be aggregated, viewed, and analyzed. (We’re betting that in most cases, they can’t.)
Let’s look at an example. Suppose you’re collecting defect data at multiple manufacturing sites and want to determine which sites are having the most issues. Can you get that information quickly? Better yet, can you identify which factors are to blame? You can—if you’re using a quality management solution that supports strategic operational insight.
Through charts like the one above, you can immediately see which assembly line is producing the most defects—and thus which line offers the greatest opportunity for reducing defects and related waste and cost. You can also identify specific defects. From this information, you can determine which defects can be corrected most quickly for the most benefit—and which are bigger issues that demand more time or money to fix.
If you can get that level of operational insight from one chart showing the assembly lines in two plants, imagine the insights that you can reap from this level of visibility into all the lines in all the plants throughout your entire enterprise. This aggregated data offers improved visibility into your operations. And that visibility enables you to make smart, strategic operational decisions that can save you thousands, if not millions.
A Better Way — InfinityQS Quality Management Solutions
For today’s quality professionals, the short-sighted fix-it mentality must go. It’s no longer viable. Competition is fierce and the next market disruption is coming sooner or later. Why wait? Get insights that can provide the resilience your company needs—and propel and your profession into the future.
When you gain a high level of insight into your operations and quality data, you can solve problems more quickly, prevent problems more easily, make strategic decisions with more confidence, and uncover fresh opportunities for your company. You’re no longer stuck in reactive mode, putting out fires as problems crop up. You’re using your quality data to be proactive, plan ahead, perform better, and leave the competition behind.