Change is all around. You see it in the Government of Canada’s recent call to “Restart, Recover and Reimagine Prosperity,” and you see it in manufacturing, where quality has gone from being something organizations shoot for to something without which future success is in doubt.
Many companies continue to struggle when it comes to quality control and assurance – which is surprising given the high stakes. Manufacturers that deliver top-quality products enjoy customer loyalty and industry accolades; their liability exposure is very low and their reputation sterling. However, companies that struggle when it comes to product quality not only fail to attract and keep customers but can end up facing liabilities, product recalls, and even lawsuits.
From precarious to stressed
Some business leaders have taken to using the pandemic as the catch-all reason for their present business ills – everything from failing to adequate engage and empower employees to missing the mark in sales and marketing communications.
When it comes to quality control and assurance, this link is valid. The pandemic has put companies on the proverbial hot seat, with those whose processes were fragile and inefficient before the pandemic now teetering on the edge, or in some cases out of business. Companies in medical and related industries have been particularly affected, as have manufacturers.
The challenge before companies right now is to move past the initial shock of the crisis – to learn lessons and move forward. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed many things to organizations when it comes to quality control and assurance. Here are but three:
- Quality must be pervasive – It’s more important than ever for manufacturers to have the ability to pivot quickly and quickly expand operations. High quality must always be maintained. Companies relying on disconnected or paper-based systems lack visibility and therefore sharp insights into data and related activities across their ecosystems. This disconnect will leave them with no way of ensuring high quality going forward.
- Quality issues are worse during crises – Supplier quality is critically important. But as manufacturers work to produce products in the face of supply chain disruptions, supplier quality becomes even more a factor. Issues around speed and scale – always factors in “normal” times – have a massive impact during a crisis such as the current pandemic.
- Flexibility is now a must – Manufacturers now must have flexible quality processes and systems. In order to remain competitive when one advantage can be the difference between leading the pack and hanging on by a thread, companies must possess the ability to pivot quickly when new challenges or opportunities present themselves.
Manufacturers are now at a point where they must normalize and adapt – not only to what’s happened but to what will happen in the coming months or even years. Fact: quality predicaments will continue to arise. Maintaining high quality will continue to challenge organizations. However, in the meantime, there are things companies can and must be doing.
Worth your time
So you have your pain points – error detection, cost control, waste avoidance, productivity management, scalability, etcetera. Your goal may be perfection, but how do you get there? For starters you join ITWC CIO Jim Love and experts from Intel and industrial automation specialist Bluewrist on August 18th for a special briefing on ways to move toward a zero percent defect rate. In this hourlong session, you’ll learn how to identify and deal with quality control bottlenecks. You’ll also learn from others through manufacturing “success story” case studies.