Quality is one of the reasons why companies have loyal consumers for they’re able to maintain the gold standard in their products for a long time. The process of securing high-quality and standardized products is called quality control.
What do you think when you hear the term ‘quality control’? You may be thinking about checking, auditing, and inspecting manufacturing facilities and processes. That’s right, but that’s not the entirety of it. It’s actually more complicated than what you think.
Quality control is widely used not only in manufacturing industries but also in the B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) industries. However, quality control is most importantly used in manufacturing industries because it is where a large chunk of widely available products is formed and originated.
Securing product quality is critical to ensure the standard of the products before they leave the manufacturing plant. If such a case happens, there will be a possibility for consumer complaints or even legal matters involving your product.
So, what can you do assure that products are up to standard? Follow these essential tips:
1. Set Your Product Specifications And Standards
Setting standards or parameters is the first and most important step in starting a business. In this step, you’re setting the quality of your products by placing boundaries. This is to ensure that all products will be made equal with almost no distinction in quality at all.
In addition, quality standards should be measurable. If parameters can’t be measured, how will you ensure that all products and services are the same? Here are some examples to guide you:
- Packing milk chocolate in tetra pack with a volume of exactly 230ml. It shouldn’t go beyond the limit to prevent percentage losses and shouldn’t go below the limit to ensure customer satisfaction.
- Answering client calls on the third ring.
- Packaging details must be complete and factual.
- Process checking in a variety of products and assembly line parts.
Placing standards isn’t just about your products. It also covers your facilities where the products are made and where your employees do their daily work. To check these, enterprises usually ask the help of a third-party quality checker and solutions provider like “Moseys” and the like. These are the association head, local health and sanitation inspector, fire inspector, and building inspector.
Many third-party standard-setting bodies don’t only check if you follow basic and legal parameters. They can also help you set your standards depending on your area of expertise. Some internationally acknowledged bodies are International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Food Safety and Sanitation Compliance (FSSC) for food manufacturers, and many more.
2. Decide Which Parameter to Focus On
While it’s crucial to set quality standards, it’s also essential to focus on valuable parameters for each product. Not only can it make your products reach their highest quality, but it can also give you quick and positive results. It’s best if you would focus on parameters that would give you a significant return of investment and excellent customer experience.
If setting primary standards requires being objective while focusing on standards to improve is subjective. Its main goal is to address the customers directly and satisfy their demands. It answers the question ‘what would they like’ and ‘how would they feel.’
These are examples of focusing on a quality standard:
- Make sure that the milk chocolate drink has a balanced sweetness and chocolate flavor in each sip instead of making attractive packaging designs.
- Getting and serving customers’ orders in a highly efficient and timely manner instead of constantly checking if the bathroom facilities are sparkling clean.
- Resolving customer criticisms and qualms in less than five minutes instead of just fixing the problems regardless of time.
3. Test the Product
Testing the product is essential to a manufacturing plant to determine if the standards are possible to meet. Proper product testing involves:
- Batch or pilot testing;
- Checking of the quality parameters; and
- Evaluation of the entire process.
Also, it can help you determine issues that may arise and troubleshoot them as early as possible. This prevents potential problems from occurring during the primary production process minimizing delay, and costs due to errors.
4. Inspect the Production Line
Inspecting the whole line of production is one of the most tedious things to do and one of the most critical areas to work on. You have to do shoulder great responsibilities as the quality of the products lies within your hands.
Don’t worry. You won’t be the only one to check the whole process for it’s an impossible feat. In a manufacturing plant, there is a team of Quality Control Inspectors (QCI) to check if the standards set are still being followed.
Usually, the QCI team is spread throughout in different areas, such as:
Receiving area is where raw materials are collected. Quality inspections begin here to diminish the occurrence of possible errors. For example, mechanically removing all the substandard oranges prior to the extracting process.
Main Production Area
This is where products are being processed before they’re packed or assembled. It’s another critical area to consider and many defects are usually found here. It is also the best time to ensure that the product is up to minimum standards.
The last area prior to delivery. Quality inspectors will try to check the integrity of the material by dropping or puncturing. This is to ensure that the material will not fail in the hands of the consumers.
5. Review and Evaluate the Results
After a careful examination and inspection of the process line, you may have to review and evaluate your findings. In this process, you’ll be able to see if there are inconsistencies during the entire process.
Process evaluation helps improve both the product and the process. This opens opportunities for product innovation and allows you to identify the weaknesses of the product and the process.
With proper evaluation, you may receive some great benefits, such as:
- Less reworking means less cost and less trash produced;
- Improvement in processes due to consistent corrections;
- Improvement in productivity; and
- Improvement in relationship with suppliers and consumers.
Quality doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye. It requires intense hard work, team cooperation, and a sound quality management system (QMS). QMS helps the company to be consistent in addressing substandard and inefficiencies before products are done and completed. It can also help you achieve the ultimate goal of any company, which is to provide excellent customer service.