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Non-conforming product creates costly scrap, waste, defects, and rework—and can ruin your reputation. When a problem crops up, quickly finding the root cause helps you reduce risk while staying compliant and profitable.

Enact® by InfinityQS® provides lot genealogy to guide you to the root cause of issues so you can efficiently mitigate them. Let’s look at the benefits lot genealogy can provide manufacturers that want superior ROI from their quality management solution.

Chipping In

To illustrate the impact of lot genealogy, let’s look at a food company that produces potato chips in a variety of flavors and package sizes. This company sells chips to large grocery and convenience store chains across the U.S. and uses lot numbers to track raw materials, work in process (WIP), and finished goods. Lot numbers help them minimize the negative effects of bad raw materials, troubleshoot process issues more effectively, and reduce the cost and effort of product recalls.

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The Chip Scenario

Potato chip manufacturing has many steps—from onboarding raw materials to slicing and frying to bagging and packaging for shipment. An important part of making chips is the sensory test—the test for flavor. This can be for oil, salt, barbecue, and other flavors.

In this case, the company never performed sensory tests for the cooking oil used in the chip frying process. The oil vendors they have traditionally partnered with had always provided good oil, so the company gradually phased out testing oil during the receiving process.

However, recent price increases from oil suppliers prompted the company’s accounting department to ask if they could look for new, lower-cost oil suppliers. They didn’t necessarily want to abandon an old partner, but the need for lower-priced components was starkly evident: The company had to find a way to keep prices down, and this move fit the bill.

The purchasing department and process engineering crew found a new, less-expensive oil supplier. Samples of their oil passed the company’s internal quality tests, so they placed a large order—taking advantage of a sizable discount.

Using the New Component

The new oil was received and given an input lot number—Lot B13492. The company used the new oil in one large lot of fried potato chips. Once fried, the chips were sent on to the seasoning process. They produced two flavors, BBQ and sea salt. They produced one lot of BBQ chips, and the next day followed suit with a lot of sea salt chips. Finally, they bagged the chips into 300g bags—ready for shipment.

02 QM 0422 InfinityQS IC Topic 3 Lot Genealogy Chip Scenario

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Into Enact

One month after the sea salt chips were produced and delivered, the company started receiving customer complaints. Two of their largest grocery chain customers forwarded several dozen customer complaints about the taste of the sea salt potato chips. Customers uniformly complained that the chips tasted “different” and were not as fresh as normal. The company also received some complaints for the BBQ chips, but much fewer than the sea salt chips.

Enact can show how much impact that single bad component had on these chips. The company’s quality team used Enact to look up the lot numbers of the chips sold to the two grocery chains. They ran the Lot Genealogy report below and found that a specific oil lot was common across all the chip lots.

03 QM 0422 InfinityQS IC Topic 3 Lot Genealogy Inputs

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To determine all the chip lots that used the bad oil, they ran an Input Lot Genealogy report in Enact, which confirmed the exact lots to be replaced.

04 QM 0422 InfinityQS IC Topic 3 Lot Genealogy Outputs

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Accountability and Mitigation

Quality and process engineers then ran sensory and physical property tests on the oil, which revealed that it had a rancid odor. The company contacted the supplier and asked them to investigate the supplied oil.

After the supplier’s tests were complete, they admitted that the oil was substandard and agreed to send along a new shipment of acceptable oil.

The chip company re-established sensory and other quality tests on incoming shipments of oil—a necessity moving forward. They also chose to mitigate their risk and buy from a variety of oil suppliers, minimizing their exposure to future quality problems.

The company also contacted all customers who received product under the output lots of concern and offered to replace their stock with new product.

Enact Keeps You Profitable

The chip company’s fast action allowed them to prevent more customer complaints and possible loss of customer goodwill. Lot genealogy tools within Enact helped them find the root problem so they could efficiently contain the scope of the damage.

While manufacturing errors are inevitable, Enact’s lot genealogy function can help you mitigate damage to remain compliant and profitable. Focus on your top priorities with an SPC solution that helps cut through the noise of data and gain critical advantages where it matters most: in your manufacturing processes.

InfinityQS quality management software is there to help you improve every step of your operational processes. Learn more about Enact on our website.