It’s no exaggeration to say that the quality control process can make or break your business. Your reputation is everything and if people know you for producing subpar products, your business will likely struggle.
In order to maintain a good name, you need a good quality control plan. This article offers 5 suggestions on how to improve your quality control process.
1. Let Technology Do the Heavy Lifting
A good quality control process should make good use of the latest technology. Of course, computer systems can’t beat the analytical skills of a real human, but they can do a lot of the heavy lifting.
This ensures that your manpower is focused where it’s really needed. Depending on what you’re producing, you might be able to install sensors that can check the quality of products on the production line in real-time.
These sensors can alert a human as soon as it detects an abnormality. This means that a human doesn’t need to check every single thing on the production line. Instead, they just need to check the products that are flagged by the system.
If your automated system works well, it will mean you won’t need to hire anywhere near as many staff members. Automated quality control could potentially save your company a lot of money.
With that said, implementing this kind of automated quality control system will be expensive in the short term, so you’ll need to have a reasonable amount of cash on hand to invest in the necessary equipment.
For example, you might consider working with a company like Global Vision to handle your automated quality control system.
2. Keep the Shop Floor Clean
You can also help with the quality control process by keeping the shop floor as clean as possible. One reason that this helps is that it will reduce the number of accidents or mistakes.
The more cluttered the production floor is, the more likely a worker is to use the wrong component or miss out on a crucial detail. Another reason is that working in clutter has a demotivating effect on your employees.
When the shop floor is messy, workers are more likely to accept sub-standard work. On the other hand, if the shop floor is clean and pristine, it’s more likely to lead to your workers taking a sense of pride in what they do.
If you want to keep the production floor clean, you need a solid plan of action. Without clearly defined cleaning duties, your team will probably experience the “diffusion of responsibility” effect.
Essentially, this means people won’t clean because they think it’s someone else’s problem. With a clearly laid out cleaning schedule, you’ll avoid this problem.
3. Have Clear Quality Standards
A good quality control plan means you’ll need to have clearly defined quality standards for your products. Without a clear definition of what is acceptable and what isn’t, workers will be left to function on their own initiative.
Sometimes, this is desirable, but certainly not when it comes to the quality control process. Make sure you make it 100% clear what kind of flaws are unacceptable in the product.
You should communicate these standards through training sessions, as well as an employee handbook that your workers can check if they’re unsure. There also needs to be a clear hierarchy of responsibility.
No matter how much detail you put into your quality control standards, there are always going to be situations that don’t quite fit. In these circumstances, you need to clearly define who is responsible for making the final decision.
Simply having one meeting or seminar about quality standards usually isn’t enough. These will often help in the short term, but over time, standards will start to slip.
Make sure you keep your staff refreshed and up-to-date about the quality control process through frequent updates.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to schedule endless meetings. For example, you might consider sending out a quarterly “refresher email” that reiterates the points that were made in previous meetings.
4. Upgrade Your Equipement
A worker is only as good as his tools allow him to be. If you want to produce the highest quality results, then you need to use high-quality equipment. The equipment used on the production floor should also be in top working order.
If you run into quality issues, you should have a system in place to establish why it has happened. If frequent faults can be traced back to a certain piece of equipment, you’ll need to consider replacing or upgrading it.
One of the best ways to figure out where your money is best spent is to talk to your staff. Your workers are out there in the thick of it, and they know better than anyone which equipment causes problems.
Not only will replacing faulty equipment improve your quality control process, but it will also improve the morale of your team.
5. Get Customer Feedback
In an ideal world, faulty or flawed products would never make it off the production line. Unfortunately, no matter how good your quality control is faulty products are always going to make it through.
To combat this, you should incentivize customer feedback. You won’t know about these kinds of flaws if your customers don’t report them to you. You might consider offering discounts or free gifts for writing reviews or giving feedback.
You might also consider sending out follow-up emails to customers to see how they’re enjoying their new product.
Get the Best Quality Control Process
Getting a good quality control process takes time. You’ll need to work closely with your team, and have definitive standards and a chain of command. Having good quality control is vital if you want to maintain and expand your customer base.
If you’re interested in reading more articles about running a business, check out some of our other blog pages.