Measuring and understanding the compliance of your products and your processes is key for any manufacturer. But how compliance does it fit into your daily operations?

Compliance means many things. It encompasses various standards; what you're measuring against; and local and international regulations. But there is more to it than that.

Compliance is part of product and process quality. In other words: Guarding against defective products and reliable, consistent processes are necessary to be truly compliant.

This is harder than it sounds. While it varies by industry and product, today’s manufacturers must hit a variety of targets to sell products that meet customer demands. That means that they must fulfill customer expectations, engineers’ specifications, and abide by the inevitable laws that regulate their industry.

Collecting the right data can help organizations as they attempt to juggle these myriad priorities. Especially data around defects.

When manufacturers can pinpoint their defect rates, the type of defects and their source, they will get a better idea how to prevent them in the long run. They can also use data from statistical process control, or SPC, to identify which process streams have too much variation (and therefore contribute to defects).

SPC helps manufacturers regularly monitor their machines and find these variations. The right software helps them to collect data from any of their devices and store it all in a centralized data repository. This results in accessible data that helps to generate reports, which prove compliance.

No matter how you’re measuring compliance, data is an essential part of the process.