If you’re working in the original equipment manufacturing sector, you understand improving quality control is essential for success at all levels.

Studies show that companies that lack effective quality control often incur costs that account for 15-20% of sales due to product defects and errors, weakening customer relationships, and an overall damaging brand resulting from poor quality management.

To help you learn how to establish and benefit from proper quality control, we’re breaking down the steps you should take in your OEM facility to minimize risk and increase your organization’s value.

Standardize Your Systems

It’s important to standardize your systems to understand which operations are helping or hurting your quality control – and paper processes make this unnecessarily difficult.

Digital solutions like warehouse management systems (WMS) and enterprise resource platforms (ERP) are multifunctional. They’re designed to organize your quality control methods, automate, and track other major data points for your business, all in one place.

Here’s how:

  • WMS:A WMS allows manufacturing facilities to keep track of their inventory and monitor each stage of a product’s journey with the intent to eliminate waste and improve quality. For example, the software stores all batches of raw material that could be used to manufacture finished product so you can easily monitor stock levels. In addition, if a quality issue is detected in a certain batch of raw material, the WMS will determine all the finished product made from this raw material so you can avoid shipping out defective products.
  • ERP:An Enterprise Resource Platform is a system of integrated and centralized applications that manage and automate various recurring tasks. In an industry such as manufacturing, where efficiency is constantly sought yet difficult to find, an ERP allows for unprecedented visibility, coordination, and management across the disparate processes that make up a business (like inventory and shipping) — resulting in greater operational efficiency.

With the help of these platforms, you can keep track of your products at every stage and easily monitor how an item progresses through quality control. This way, if there’s a complaint from a customer, you can simply refer to your systems and determine exactly where the process broke down to avoid repeat occurrences.

Embrace Lean Manufacturing

We’ve explored the virtues of lean manufacturing in the past as a practice to help make construction projects more sustainable. But this system can also offer solutions for improving your quality control.

Lean manufacturing helps OEM’s take advantage of opportunities for improvement and focus on value creation for customers by developing processes that maximize value and minimize waste.

The following three aspects of lean manufacturing can be especially helpful in improving your quality control:

  • Picking Strategy: One of the biggest heists in the manufacturing process is often the amount of time it takes to pick all of the raw materials and goods that are littered throughout a warehouse. Analyzing the success of your current picking system can lead to choosing a new version that’s a better fit. (For example, zone picking, wave picking or batch picking).
  • Reducing Excess Inventory: When you produce more products than your customers want or faster than they need them, you get over-production waste and excess inventory. For OEM’s, excess inventory can be a massive, expensive problem. Using a lean approach to your inventory management will help organize your current products, reduce nonessential inventory, and recalibrate your production depending on demand forecasts. However, it’s important to find a balance between simplifying quality-control processes and still accounting for some risk to ensure you’re prepared for unexpected market changes.
  • Working with a trusted supplier: Working with a trusted supplier (like Corrugated Metals Inc.) whose production methods are sustainable, continuously meets industry standards, and thoroughly tests its corrugated metal products to ensure high-quality, will support your business in creating a more profitable and controlled facility.

Resource expenditures that do not contribute to the value of a product are wasteful in a lean manufacturing environment. When eliminating waste is the goal, you’ll experience improved product quality, customer service, and efficiency.

Conduct Unscheduled Tests

The overall quality control of your business depends on the quality of your process for managing it. It’s crucial you have the right process in place so that employees know how to properly perform their job.

One way to test employees and get feedback is to conduct unscheduled tests. An unscheduled test is like a pop quiz for safety. During an unscheduled test, you’ll select a group of employees at random and ask them about the utilization of all relevant machines, if they follow safety measures, and if they know how to ensure they’re getting the most out of the equipment.

While it can seem nit-picky, employees are the first line of defense against accidents and an asset in customer relations. Unscheduled tests serve as an opportunity to hear from employees about their experience with the equipment and ensure all workers are safe, efficient on the job, and continuously taking the necessary measures to improve quality control.

Prioritize Organization

While a WMS and ERP system helps to keep your digital workspace organized, it’s important to reciprocate the same for your physical workspace to eliminate unnecessary obstacles.

To help improve your organizational process, follow these steps:

  • Keep a Clean Workspace: Don’t overlook the cleanliness and neatness of your different facility spaces. Not adhering to your facility’s organizational standards could put your employees at risk for everything from trips and slips to falling products to being exposed to dangerous chemicals.
  • Optimize Your Layout: Quality control can be influenced by something as simple as ensuring your facility makes the most of its floor space and storage abilities. Storing raw materials wherever they fit without an organizational strategy means there’s a likelihood that inventory will get lost or, worse, damaged.

Start Boosting Your Quality Control

While improving quality control can be a time and labor-intensive process, it’s a critical component of running a successful OEM company. It can also mean the difference between a company that succeeds and one that doesn’t.

At Corrugated Metals, Inc., we offer unrivaled metal capabilities and have an abundance of un-utilized capacity to service orders with quick turn-around times so you can successfully manage your inventory, eliminate waste, and increase your value to your customers.

If you’re ready to learn how we can help improve your business’s quality control, get in touch today.