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?

Feb
02

Resolving issues w/ QC in the textile/garment industry

The International Journal of Information, Business and Management recently reported on the garment industry and the impact on quality in the current environment.

Garment factories in Bangladesh have been the site of rights abuses and fatal accidents. The industry also faces its share of traditional business challenges, including mounting international competition and a lack of formal quality management systems, researcher Hasanuzzaman writes. Common challenges to adopting quality management systems – such as Six Sigma – include a lack of financial resources, infrastructure, and education, according to the author’s interviews with factory managers. Those who had implemented quality management, however, reported better customer and employee satisfaction, better waste management, and faster delivery.

CGMA Magazine highlights the ongoing issues noted in the textile/garment supply chain despite attempts to implement corrective actions via quality management:

The industry is also struggling to confront unsafe conditions in its supply chain. In 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, which housed factories making garments for global brands, collapsed. More than 1,100 people were killed, and thousands more were injured. Since then, driven partly by media and consumer pressure, the industry has attempted to prevent and remedy the dangers to its workforce. The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was drawn up with much fanfare and signed by more than 200 clothing brands. Factories were inspected, and corrective action plans were put in place. However, 1,401 of the 1,646 factories covered by the accord are behind schedule on these tasks, according to the Accord’s quarterly report dated July 2016.

As an industry faced with these issues, ensuring product quality control and a stable quality management system can be especially challenging.

Recommendations to improve quality in both the short and long-term include:

Focus on supplier selection

  • Consider various regions and their reputation for quality and overall sustainability/social responsbility .
  • Verify potential supplier’s capabilities and environment with an on-site assessment. View an example SR report and an Initial Supplier Evaluation.
  • Contact other clients working with the supplier.

Conduct ongoing inspections & data analysis

  • Depending on how comfortable you are with the supplier, first-article, in-process and pre-shipment inspections can be employed.  A previous blog post reported on common issues we note during textile/garment inspections.
  • Evaluate inspection data on a periodic basis to drive continuous improvement efforts. Consider the 80/20 rule for monthly management.

For additional information, a comprehensive article discussing all aspects of textile/garment quality can be be found here. Akter HossainDepartment of Textile Engineering at Daffodil International University offers several insights and recommendations.

For more information regarding how Pro QC can assist with supplier selection and on-site quality control, contact us or visit our website at here.

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