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Manufacturing quality improvement teams often excel at local management of quality and process improvements—but struggle to apply successes consistently across the organization. Plants at different locations may run autonomously, even using different quality systems. The result is that the greater organization doesn’t function in a consistent way—instead, it becomes a collection of loosely connected parts that struggle to work together to achieve a common purpose.

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But with a cloud-based quality platform like Enact® by InfinityQS®, it is possible to bring those disparate parts together and strive for consistency across all processes, lines, and plants.

With data from all locations standardized and centralized in the cloud, you’re able to identify improvements that are strategic—and globally impactful. Building consistency across the entire organization is key to strengthening and protecting your brand.

Operational Data Is Valuable: How Much Are You Missing?

In most manufacturing organizations, upper management receives performance reporting in a highly aggregated format—via daily, weekly, or monthly summary reports and through the lens of established key performance indicators (KPIs).

The problem with that level of aggregation is that it also creates a high level of abstraction from what is actually happening in production operations over time.

Imagine it like this: You take a long car trip, and at the end, you report the average speed you drove during the trip. That number doesn’t tell you much. For instance, it doesn’t indicate whether you broke the speed limit at any point, or if you stopped frequently along the way. You get no details about what made the trip good or bad. And no information about what you might do differently if you were planning another trip like it.

Likewise, if your quality improvement teams and upper management lack the ability to drill down into the underlying factors behind your aggregated KPIs, your organization is going to struggle to identify where potential performance issues are occurring—or where potential improvement opportunities lie waiting to be discovered.

Reducing Risk: The Time You Need Performance Details is NOW

Even when you do a good job at managing your quality and maintaining compliance at the individual plant level, an inability to see across your whole enterprise introduces serious risks.

Consider the typical timeline for a quality or process improvement project. How much time do you spend moving data from paper, spreadsheets, or other systems and converting it into a format you can analyze? How much additional time does it take to dig down and discover the root cause of the issue you’re addressing?

When your data is siloed in paper checklists and spreadsheets, that analysis can take days—even weeks. Meanwhile, the issue can take a serious turn for the worse.You incur unnecessary costs, potential waste and rework, and productivity and yield are negatively affected. Sometimes, unsafe or poor-quality products can be the result. Nobody wants that.

Highly aggregated and abstracted KPIs may also mask opportunities for improvement. For instance, when you can’t drill down past that flat KPI and compare performance across plants, lines, and individual processes, you might never identify a particularly problematic process or machine that is suppressing the overall performance. What might be a relatively simple fix is just not clearly visible.

The Big Picture and the Small Details: It's All Important

Let’s be clear: aggregate analysis of KPIs is very important.

In Enact, a unique feature called data stream grading provides a real-time, high-level view of performance across the organization. It enables you to directly compare performance from different sites.

InfinityQSICTopic 4 Corporate dashboard report

But what’s truly important is that you can instantly drill down into those KPIs to specific processes, products, or features—even to a specific shift or point in time—to determine root cause.

That’s possible because Enact unifes your quality data and stores it in a centralized data repository. When data is stored and accesible in one place, you get enterprise-wide visibility and the ability to assess quality performance for every region, operation, and product in your company.

With this enterprise visibility, you gain true operational insight into your processes and operations. That can fuel high-level, prioritized improvement of product quality and spark some exciting, proactive, and strategic decision making.

With access to this level of information, companies gain the ability to globally transform their business through process optimization, cost reductions, and better resource utilization.

Standardization Drives Enterprise Consistency

An important aspect of enterprise-wide strategic improvement is consistency. When quality initiatives break down (or prove problematic), inconsistency creeps in…across all your manufacturing operations.

Consider how your teams across all your sites would answer questions about their most fundamental operations:

  • How and when are you doing quality checks?
  • When, where, and how are your data collections performed?
  • How is all this data recorded?
  • How do you ensure that everyone—from operators to executives—are interpreting data and KPIs in the same way?
  • And how do you know you are making consistent decisions based on those insights?

Achieving consistency across your enterprise involves embracing common quality principles and standardizing the methods you use, the data you collect, monitoring, and analysis. With Enact, you can gain not just visibility but also share insights and ensure you’re consistently on track.

Protecting Your Brand

Without doubt, achieving strategic improvement with enterprise consistency can help manufacturers make significant gains in operational performance—reducing costs and waste while improving efficiency, productivity, yield, flexibility, and agility.

But perhaps the most important outcome is brand protection.

To the market and customers you serve, your manufacturing organization is only as good as the products that you produce. Regardless of improvements in cost or yield, if your products are of poor or inconsistent quality—or even unsafe—then your brand suffers. Customers don’t care about your company’s financial or operational performance; they do care about the quality and safety of the products they consume.

So the ultimate benefit of all these strategic improvements—the outcome that provides the greatest value for your organization—is that you are strengthening and protecting your brand. That is what determines the future of your organization.

When your brand reputation matters, quality must be at the heart of everything you do. Visit our website and learn how Enact by InfinityQS, an Advantive company, can transform the way you handle the critical information at the heart of your production operations.