Jun
23

Pet Industry Trends: Quality Considerations

A love for our furry friends is shared among Pro QC teams across the globe. In fact, international trends are consistent.” World pet markets are growing at a dramatic rate, with a number of countries witnessing higher than ever pet ownership and spending.”

Euromonitor reports that the world pet market arena in India is expected to grow at a 10-15% annual rate in the coming years and is projected to eventually become a leading supplier of pet products around the world. Brazil has one of the largest pet populations in the world, with a sales increase of 12-17% each year. Within the U.S., the American Pet Products Association (APPA) offers a look at the pet industry expenditures from 1994 to 2016. The growth of the spending on the pet industry has been referred to as quite staggering. In fact, even in years in which the economy dipped into recession, Americans made their pets a priority and spending steadily increased. In 1994, the APPA says Americans spent $17 billion on their pets. By 2016, spending nearly quadrupled to an estimated $62.75 billion. By 2020, the pet industry could hit $96 billion in sales.

Trends predicted in the pet industry include an increase in “pet tech” items and more product choices. One of the biggest trends at Global Pet Expo was an increased amount of choice, with many products refreshed with new colors, styles and designs. “From food products to apparel to toys to gear, there’s something for every individual person and pet.”

As the industry grows, safety and quality requirements become an increasing consideration. Quality solutions offered to the industry include:

Supplier Evaluations: Visit the factory prior to working with them to determine if they will meet your requirements/expectations.

An example Initial Supplier Evaluation can be found here as an example. Learn more about the supplier audit process here

QC Inspections: Inspect the product prior to production, in-process, or pre-shipment. Ensure product meets expectations. From animal furniture, toys, beds/bedding, kennels, apparel and more, experienced QC professionals can visit suppliers on-site to identify shipment issues early . Inspections generally include a check for workmanship/cosmetic defects, functionality, packaging, labeling, etc.

Learn more about QC inspections here. 

Product Testing: Check products for materials content, or to ensure other safety features like resistance to corrosion. Weather testing and lifecycle testing also assist in the product design process.  Evaluate per various national and international standards and regulations.

Continuous Improvement: Recurring issues are identified and often evaluated through root causes analysis. Improvement plans can address issues and work to resolve ongoing.

Resources cited:

Trends for 2017 in the Pet Industry

The World’s Pet Markets Trend

May
10

Reflecting on the Advantages of Technology on QC…

This month represents six years of blogging and sharing quality news and insight. Pro QC has provided QC services for over three decades and has seen the emergence of technology within the industry and the significant advantages organizations have today as a result.

A few notable advances in technology we’ve seen over the years includes:

1984: When Pro QC started in 1984, scheduling requests were primarily handled by fax and were hand written.  During that time, the cost of international long distance prohibited frequent team communications among regions. Communications were slow, and calls were short.

1996: The Pro QC website went live in 1996. The Wayback Machine is a fun resource for seeing snapshots of websites over time.  Pro QC’s website went live as a static page with a list of services and over the years has developed into a value-adding resource for industry professionals, offering example reports, informative videos, white papers, and more.

1998: Digital photos were provided with inspection and audit reports in 1998. Photos provided additional visual details for clients and often avoided having samples sent for additional visual evaluation.

2007: The first quarterly newsletter that Pro QC emailed out was in June of 2007. Pro QC’s clients and partners now had a way of keeping up with the company’s activities and gained access to additional content related to the industry. Today, the quarterly newsletter is distributed to over 7,000 subscribers.

2010: The services database went live in 2010 and allowed clients access to reports anytime, anywhere. This also provided clients with an effective way to transfer large files such as product specifications and/or drawings via Pro QC’s FTP.

2011: Pro QC engaged in social media via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter in 2011. This allowed more shared information and added value to clients and others. Social media continues to be a way for us to connect with our clients, learn and give back to the industry.

2012: Pro QC’s clients and/or their partners were able to schedule services online in 2012.

2015: Applicants interested in working with Pro QC must complete a series of hiring and subsequent e-training modules. Virtual training allows us to work with quality professionals in remote areas and ensure professional development among the global team. Online predictive analysis assessments provides additional support for hiring and retention.

2016: Pro QC accepts payments online making solutions more accessible.  Pro QC also starts providing video content with audits and/or inspections when requested and permissible.

2017: Today, auditors and inspectors have tablets that can be taken on-site for reporting that saves time and improves the overall output quality. Regional teams have the ability to video conference and screen share anytime, making regular communications more viable and productive. Technology connects us with our clients and partners and continues to serve as a competitive advantage within the marketplace.

 

Apr
25

What is Responsible Sourcing & How Do You Manage It Effectively?

Our latest video discusses a topic increasing in relevancy. Responsible Sourcing is also a topic we’ll be discussing next week at ASQ’s annual World Conference on Quality & Improvement.  Visit us in Booth 607, or attend one or both of our sessions on Monday, May 1st.

3pm – 4pm

M26: Managing Supplier Social Responsibility: On-Site Audits

5:30pm – 6:45pm

AF04: Incorporating SR Into Daily Life

Apr
05

Too much quality?

Wichita’s NPR station recently focused an OnWords piece related to quality.

Consider the following:

“You can usually tell that an organization has stopped caring about quality when it becomes the only thing they talk about.”

As quality professionals, we revel in the fact that organizations might be talking too much about quality. In that scenario, we have won and finally impressed the message that quality is indeed everyone’s responsibility.

And, is there really such a thing as too much data? Of course we know there is, but most quality engineers are going to revert to Deming:

“In god we trust, all others bring data.” 

The last comment in this piece is compelling though:

“So if it seems like a quality improvement plan has pulled all the passion out of your product, perhaps you should go back and ask what quality means for the product you sell.”

This is noted as consistent with the Plan > Do > Check < Act (PDCA) cycle and sums up the nature of continuous improvement nicely.

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning.” ~Benjamin Franklin

 

Mar
14

Quality as a Journey: Keep Going & Other Lessons Learned

Some of our inquiries at Pro QC come from organizations reaching out for reactive assistance that addresses current, significant quality issues. Once the immediate issue is addressed, ongoing quality efforts lose their luster until the next debacle.  It can be a viscous cycle in which clients are faced with difficult decisions regarding accountability to stakeholders.  Reactive solutions are also often more costly.

But, quality is a journey.

It’s a journey.

Here are a few lessons learned as an organization offering over three decades of experience in the industry:

 

  1. A successful journey starts and ends with the right leadership.  The organization’s leadership must support quality and ongoing efforts for improvements. And, that support must be communicated from the top, down in order for everyone to understand the importance of quality as a factor in decision making.
  2. Identify and regularly review targeted (applicable) data that provides corporate-wide incentives supporting quality performance. Think about how current incentives and KPIs used to evaluate performance affect overall quality.
  3. Celebrate achievements and identify opportunities from failures. Organizations as a whole must reward accomplishments and successful goal completion.  In addition, the corporate culture should accept results that don’t meet expectations so that those examples are not repeated and are rather learned from.
  4. Stay focused on the long-term. It’s easy to get wrapped up in short-term solutions, but consider long-term solutions that will likely reduce overall time and resources required.
  5. Keep going! A journey doesn’t stop, nor should it. The essence of quality is continuous improvement, so think PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) to ensure you stay focused on the process and those short and long-term improvements.

What are the lessons learned in your personal quality journey?

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