Manufacturing success depends on ensuring product quality. Rather than viewing quality as a competitive advantage or differentiator, many companies today see it as an expense.
This stance often delays or prevents companies from investing in a necessary cloud-based statistical process control (SPC) solution that can improve product quality, reduce risk, and increase operational efficiency.
Despite the cloud’s proven capabilities across areas like security and accessibility, some executives still need convincing. Popular terms like “digital transformation” make a transition to the cloud sound overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.
Employing a tactical approach and adopting a digital quality management system to bring your data online is an important and manageable first step toward fully digital operations.
Once accomplished, your company will quickly realize the benefits of digitization and its important role in ensuring product quality. Let’s explore the case for moving to the cloud.
Moving Quality to the Cloud Drives Process Improvement, Improves Quality
Cloud technology has been gaining momentum in the manufacturing sector for years. And it makes sense. The cloud offers many benefits to organizations trying to manage quality across their enterprise.
Secure cloud-based solutions solve many of the data problems manufacturers face with their outdated legacy SPC systems. In such systems, data is:
- Disconnected and siloed
- Difficult to access (especially remotely)
- Outdated before you see it
- Hard to manipulate for reporting
To reveal trends and enable proactive, strategic analysis, quality professionals are forced to export data into spreadsheets and run manual comparisons. In some cases, they are steered toward purchasing expensive add-on modules or external analysis programs for their legacy systems.
All this manual work with data wastes time for operators and quality managers alike. It prevents them from focusing on continuous improvement initiatives because they are focused on fixing day-to-day problems.
In contrast, a cloud-based SPC system simplifies data management because it:
- Centralizes and standardizes product and operational data
- Surfaces important insights and trends
- Allows users to compare data easily across lines and sites
To truly manage your quality data and ensure product quality, you need to be able to do three important things with the data you collect:
- Quickly identify and solve production issues before they result in waste and scrap
- Easily access, analyze, and communicate data in response to executive, customer, or auditor requests
- Determine how to improve production line efficiency and maximize capacity
To meet these requirements, your quality management solution should enable you to easily find exactly the data you want, from any time period you specify. And it should let you view your data in multiple ways—such as comparing products, production lines, or even sites across the entire enterprise. Most important, you should be able to make these comparisons within the solution; not while manually juggling multiple spreadsheets.
The key to achieving this advanced level of analysis is centralized and standardized data. A truly centralized, unified data repository—like we use in InfinityQS quality management solutions—automates and standardizes data storage. As a result, all your data is available and easy to work with. No more exporting and importing data into offline products in your endless journey to compile reports.
With software such as Enact® by InfinityQS, you can create dashboards that allow you to quickly create charts, graphs, and reports from your SPC data.
Here are a few features to consider when evaluating a cloud-based SPC solution.
In SPC there are statistical rules that state if a data point falls a certain distance from your mean, then something beyond what you expected probably happened. If a trend emerges, then you need to pay attention.
Control charts enable manufacturers to visualize trends and abnormal patterns, letting operators know when a process strays from its expected baseline.
Control charts tell the story of your process. And if you are using an InfinityQS quality management solution like Enact, you can save time because the system automatically monitors your data stream using control chart rules you set. You’re free to focus on other tasks instead of watching your control chart every few minutes.
Dashboards provide an overview of a manufacturing processes to help you make timely decisions. They surface relevant information so a user can save time and adjust a process if necessary.
The user never has to “sift” through control charts. The only things the user needs to see are the data streams—for processes or machines for which they are responsible—that are not satisfying statistical and specification limit violations.
Quality is Fundamental
Investing in quality is important. Purchasing a cloud-based SPC system gives you greater visibility into processes and helps ensure high product quality.
Without this visibility, you face increased risk, which can be costly. Poor quality management may result in your company paying warranty claims or losing customers because they are dissatisfied and move to a different supplier.
However, investing in quality isn’t only about avoiding costs. A modern quality system provides you crucial information about the efficiency of your manufacturing processes. With these insights, you can identify operational areas that are experiencing problems, make changes to improve efficiency, and lower the cost of quality.
Help your executives rethink quality management. It doesn’t need to be a daunting all-or-nothing situation.
Curious to see more benefits of managing quality in the cloud? Visit the InfinityQS website to craft your business case for moving to a cloud-based SPC.