The quality of a product can often be the sole factor in how it sells, and this quality is a direct reflection of the manufacturer who made it.
Online reviews are used by many consumers when determining the products they buy, especially when they are comparing similar products from different companies. Product quality is one of the main aspects of a product that consumers will write about in a review. If a product is not strong when it should be or is less durable than advertised, it can result in negative reviews and a loss of reputation for the manufacturer.
Quality assurance involves companies following steps to ensure they are producing high-quality products and the product can perform as advertised. A well-designed quality assurance program can help manufacturers minimize defects, reduce waste, increase efficiency, and improve customer satisfaction.
Quality Assurance in Manufacturing
Here are the steps involved in conducting quality assurance in a manufacturing business:
1. Define Quality Standards
When conducting quality assurance, the first step is defining your quality standard. It can be difficult for employees to maintain quality standards if they are unaware of what is expected of them. This also goes for suppliers. If your quality standards call for certain specifications, share those with your suppliers so they know exactly what you need.
Also, keep in mind customer requirements and any applicable industry standards. If customers are buying your product due to a specific feature, make sure that feature is included in your quality standards. Clearly state your quality standards to all parts of the production, so everyone knows what the result needs to be.
2. Establish Inspection Procedures
Inspections are a great way to find quality problems during production. These inspections should be detailed including the steps involved, the equipment and tools required, and the personnel responsible for conducting the inspections.
Maintaining a consistent inspection schedule will significantly increase the chances of catching any quality deficiencies in products before they hit the shelves.
3. Train Employees
Your employees, in some ways, are the tip of the spear when it comes to quality assurance. Those directly involved in the production process are intimately familiar with your products and often can see problems early on. Proper training is crucial to employees being productive and gives them the tools they need to maintain the company’s quality standards.
Ensure all employees know the quality standards and empower them to speak up if they see something they feel is not up to standard. Their hands-on experience will be beneficial, and it’s much easier to fix any issues earlier in the process than later down the road.
4. Conduct Regular Inspections
You’ve put the work in to develop procedures for quality inspections. You need to schedule them regularly to get the most out of them.
The timing of these inspections may vary depending on what’s being produced and the complexity of the production process. Whatever you decide regarding a schedule, do your best to keep a regular schedule for these inspections. This will help ensure constant feedback regarding your quality assurance program and allow you to make changes more quickly, reducing potential waste and downtime.
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5. Monitor and Track Performance
Now that you have created a schedule for regular inspections, take advantage and keep track of what is found during these inspections.
The data you get from these inspections (such as production rate, defect rate, and others) can provide you with valuable information to help you maintain high-quality assurance levels. This data will help you identify areas where improvements can be made and, at the same time, will show the effectiveness of your quality assurance program.
6. Take Corrective Action
What happens if a defect is detected during your inspections? Do you incite total pandemonium, or do you have steps in place to identify the problem area and make the necessary changes? Hopefully, it is the second choice.
Have plans in place for changing processes or modifying product designs in short amounts of time. If material quality is an issue, have multiple vendors available for your materials, so you have options to buy new materials on short notice. You will significantly reduce production downtime and avert the pandemonium option mentioned earlier.
7. Continuous Improvement
Quality assurance is not a one-time effort but rather a continuous improvement process. Regularly review and evaluate your quality assurance program to identify areas for improvement and make changes as necessary to maintain and improve the quality of your products.
In many products, quality is everything. Manufacturers must ensure they are taking the steps necessary to keep quality at the forefront of all employees and management. This constant awareness will provide abundant quality for manufacturers.
If you have questions regarding quality assurance or are interested in having an outside party help you create or strengthen your quality assurance program, get in touch with one of our accounting professionals today.
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