Any customer-focused company is concerned about putting quality first. Outstanding customer service and product distinction are foremost in any company’s efforts, but the responsibility of implementing a quality discipline is usually delegated to the quality staff. Effective quality management practices can start with the quality department, but it takes the whole team to come together to create a true culture of continuous improvement.
Let’s examine how the following departments can contribute to improved overall quality.
Quality – The quality team is responsible for the objective evidence and confirmation that supports the delivery a product that performs as expected. This effort can be better managed with an electronic-based quality management solution (EQMS). With an effective solution in place, best practices in quality can be implemented throughout the organization. Quality engineers are responsible for performing inspections of raw materials, parts and subassemblies. Corrective or preventative actions are created by quality personnel to address nonconformances and reduce risk. Training on quality procedures and document control is completed by quality personnel to ensure the organization is working towards a common goal.
Engineering – The engineering team works to design products that function as the market demands. Engineering personnel collaborate with the quality team to ensure there is complete traceability of all parts both bought and built, and that appropriate testing is completed.
Operations – Access to real-time quality data on the shop floor allows for greater control over the manufacturing process. When effective quality processes are enabled, manufacturing personnel gain visibility into inventory costs and the ability to automate MRB processing. Complete traceability of the supply chain provides supplier metrics and an automated supplier scorecard. This data can be used to control supplier costs, reduce the possibility of rework or scrap, and improve on-time delivery. With an effective quality management solution in place, best practices can be adopted by operations in environmental health and safety including ISO standards and OSHA.
IT – The need for an electronic-based quality management solution may be driven by the Director of Quality, but IT involvement is vital to project success. Ensuring the proper infrastructure is in place to support such a system is critical, as is effective integration with a company’s existing business systems. Most importantly, the integration of an existing ERP system with a quality management solution will allow for the sharing of manufacturing and quality data, resulting in the capability to make better business decisions.
Compliance – Highly regulated industries require strict industry standards and regulations throughout the product lifecycle. The compliance team is responsible for ensuring the product meets all regulatory requirements. An EQMS helps this team efficiently manage audits by providing a comprehensive history within the system.
Corporate Management – Ultimately, company executives must be supportive of a culture of continuous improvement both from a financial perspective, and from an operations perspective. The directive to put quality processes into place must come from the top. Management buy-in is essential for quality change!
It’s important to remember that quality cannot exist in silos. A consistent company strategy must be used to manage the continuous improvement process. Tapping subject matter experts from different disciplines further advances the overall quality effort and provides varied perspectives on what is needed to create the highest quality product.
TIP Technologies has been a leader in quality for almost 30 years. We are skilled at helping companies manage continuous improvement. To learn how companies use TIPQA to manage quality within different departments visit https://www.tiptech.com/quality-management-systems-department/.