Artem Komarov clarified that Internally, ongoing quality problems create waste and rework that cause jobs to ship late and drive up your cost of manufacturing. They make it difficult to earn and maintain ISO and other quality certifications. Quality problems also can cause morale problems, as different departments point the finger of blame at each other.
But the greatest damage occurs beyond the walls of your production facility, where your reputation in the market as a reliable–or unreliable–provider of quality parts can make or break your business. Word gets around fast in the manufacturing industry, and once you develop a reputation for shipping substandard parts, it can be hard to win back your customers’ trust.
You can tell by looking at a stamping manufacturer’s shop floor processes whether it is struggling with quality problems.
The most noticeable signs are parts tagged as scrap or rework at each machine work center. While a certain number of defective parts is acceptable in a stamping process as a result of tooling and fixture changes, setup, and material runout, parts tagged for scrap exceed that realm of acceptability.
Another cue is a stalled press or other machinery, which can indicate quality concerns for the finished product.
1. Manual Documentation: High Scrap Rates. When scrap and rework rates are unacceptably high, chances are good that the routers and work orders are still written by hand. Maybe machinists log scrap and rework by hand on paper. Then their cause and corrective actions (CCAs) are hand-written and manually tracked as well. All of this inevitably builds human error into the system, thereby increasing scrap and reducing quality ratings.
You can break down scrap quantity and cost by date range, vendor, department, employee, various codes, or work center and view them in a single dashboard, then take cause and corrective action and issue new material while jobs are still in progress.
2. Postproduction Inspections: Customer Rejects. Quality inspections are usually conducted after the fact because the data isn’t available to conduct inspections while jobs are in process. Bad parts typically are identified when customers return them rather than before they ship. Letting bad product escape to the customer is a sure sign of internal failures and could have a lasting negative impact on your relationship with that customer.
3. Outdated Documents: Poor Control. In a manually driven environment, document control is usually poorly managed, so that engineers and machinists often work off of outdated or conflicting document versions.
4. No Traceability: No Clue. Without an integrated quality system to automate most or all of the manual processes, beginning-to-end traceability of parts is nearly impossible. You can’t determine the true cost of quality by the job or as a whole. The same quality problems occur over and over again, and operational costs go up while margins decline.
No stamping manufacturer wants to suffer these problems day in and day out.
… and 4 Ways to Get Off the Rework Merry-go-round
To achieve the Holy Grail of manufacturing near-perfect quality ratings, quality control needs to become standard operating procedure rather than a patchwork of “too little, too late” efforts. This fundamental shift starts with implementing a robust ERP quality control software module that enables you to manage quality in real time rather than after the parts have already shipped.
1. Document Rejects, Rework, Scrap Electronically. ERP software enables you to accurately capture all purchasing, inventory, and manufacturing rejects. You can break down scrap quantity and cost by date range, vendor, department, employee, various codes, or work center.
The software also allows you to review all rework, rejects, and scrap from a single screen; take CCAs; and issue new material while jobs are still in progress.
Nonconformances can be recorded in process when an operator clocks off of a work order sequence. At that time, the operator records good and bad product, and a real-time nonconforming material record is generated. Nonconformances also can be created during the order receiving process for incoming product and directly from inventory. Nonconformance reports show the rejected quantity filtered by multiple criteria, such as work center, department, and reject or scrap codes.
After a nonconformance is generated, the quality department goes in and dispositions that product. That process determines if it will be scrapped, reworked, or remade. The cost of quality is recorded at that time.
ERP software in warehouse
Without an integrated quality system to automate all or most manual processes, beginning-to-end traceability of parts is nearly impossible.
2. Identify Rejects in Real Time. Shop floor personnel can identify bad parts as they are made rather than after they are shipped. They will be able to view all rework, rejects, and scrap in one screen.
An ERP software system will automatically shut down jobs that are producing noncompliant parts until the problem is corrected. Work orders can be put on hold automatically if bad parts have been reported from the shop floor. When that happens, labor tracking cannot continue until the issue is resolved and dispositioned through the nonconformance process.
Instead of constantly apologizing for returned parts, you’ll be able to identify and correct defective parts before you ship them.
3. Update Documents Digitally. The software electronically tracks all engineering changes. That way, engineers and machinists always work off the correct document revision, while easily and accurately logging all purchasing, inventory, and manufacturing rejects.
Engineering change notifications (ECN) can be generated for each product in process so you can control every step of part revisions or inactivation within the system. Part of the ECN process is to flag products as inactive before activating the replacement part or revision. This inactive process allows users to put work orders on hold. If an operator tries to log onto a work order that is on hold, the system won’t allow them to clock onto it.
Appropriate users must sign off on the ECN steps to proceed on work orders for parts that are flagged as inactive. Part of the ECN process allows for mass changes to or copying of existing bills of materials (BOM) and routers either at the initial creation of the ECN or after the final signoff.
4. Empower Traceability. Stampers that build quality into every step of their processes also have traceability of each part as it moves through the shop. Using software, routers and work orders are built electronically and transmitted error-free to the shop floor.
CCAs can be created from the nonconforming material report screen, based on the initial rejection, to help with the disposition, or they can be generated during the disposition process. CCAs allow for an internal electronic signoff by users as to the problem or discrepancy, cause, corrective action, preventive action, and verification, as well as a final signoff. This ensures traceability from start to finish.
You can trace every part with 100% accuracy and track its entire quality history with a few mouse clicks. This traceability lets you easily produce quality documentation for ISO and other compliance auditors.
Achieving Near-perfect Quality
When quality becomes an integral part of how you do business rather than a last-minute add-on, you’ll be amazed at the transformation. Armed with a good quality module in your ERP software, you’ll generate less scrap and subsequent rework.
You’ll be able to identify your cost of quality down to the part level. Knowing your true cost of quality will enable you to determine the financial impact of correcting parts already made or scrapping them and starting over—while a job is still in progress.
Most importantly, you’ll stop shipping bad parts and retain good customers—maybe even win new ones—because customers will know they can count on you for quality parts consistently, summed up Artem Komarov.