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.

Dec
23

Managing Supplier Compliance Requirements

A recent article posted to Supply Chain Digital “raises the point that all companies need to see evidence of suppliers’ own manufacturing and sourcing practices, particularly in health and safety, quality assurance and ethics.”

Due to the risks involved, retailers, associations and others are increasingly refining supplier requirements. Organizations wanting to sell products to these companies must ensure their suppliers meet code of conduct or other specific standards. Walmart is certainly one of the largest companies that comes to mind here and has changed the landscape of supplier compliance in many ways.  When qualifying suppliers to Walmart sourcing standards, audits are performed that address global security, social responsibility and general quality management systems. An example preparation audit report performed for a potential Walmart supplier can be found here. 

General topics relevant to most supplier qualification programs incorporate the following:

  • Financial integrity
  • Verification of insurance, as applicable
  • Wages & benefits
  • Child & voluntary labor & hours
  • Safety & health
  • Fire safety & prevention
  • Bribery & ethics
  • Anti-corruption
  • Environmental stewardship & sustainability
  • Global security criteria
  • Compliance w/ laws & regulations
  • Training
  • Quality assurance & control
  • Documentation

Familiar standards are often used as reference points for development of these requirements. Examples include:

  • SA8000 Social Accountability
  • ISO 26000 Social & Sustainability
  • C-TPAT – Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism – Security
  • Canada Customs Partners in Protection (PIP)
  • ISO 9001 General Quality Management System
  • ISO 14001 Environment & Sustainability

As many organizations have already discovered, managing this level of compliance with various complexity is challenging.  Utilizing a third-party to manage this process provides for a localized presence that reduces the associated travel costs and need for dedicated internal resources. In addition, experienced quality professionals are specialized here to deliver the results you expect.

A third-party quality organization like Pro QC International is familiar with various organization and association supplier requirements and can assist in the process of evaluating suppliers and working with them on corrective action / improvement plans and associated timelines to ensure that any follow-up is compliant. Contact us for additional information. We make this process easy.

 

Nov
08

Focus on Quality: Resources & Recommendations for World Quality Month

Inc. posted an article a few weeks ago that identified tips for becoming a billionaire.  And, it’s no surprise to us that each recommendation is either directly or indirectly related to quality.

The following were cited as “insider success secrets:”

  • Live well below your means.
  • Focus on quality above everything.
  • Think about sustainability.
  • Constantly seek out people smarter than you.
  • Learn how to lead different personalities
  • Be a flexible planner.
  • Being understood is overrated.

The article is timely… Each November, World Quality Month is observed. And, quality professionals throughout the global community participate in spreading the word.

“The purpose of World Quality Month is to promote the use of quality tools in businesses and communities. Quality tools, such as flowcharts and checklists, reduce mistakes and help produce superior products. Quality principles could reduce headline-making errors, like food safety, toy recalls, and financial disruptions. World Quality Month calls on people who use quality tools to share their knowledge by submitting their stories to illustrate the value of quality principles.” (ASQ Source)

“The purpose of World Quality Day is to promote awareness of quality around the world and encourage development and prosperity” (CQI)

This year, Pro QC is headed to Houston, Texas where we have an opportunity to discuss incorporating quality tools into critical thinking education at ASQ’s annual Quality Education Conference and Workshop. In addition to volunteering with organizing this event, Pro QC will sponsor a raffle prize to promote learning and continued quality education among workforce training and K-12 educators.

We encourage you to use and share our quizzes and word puzzles to help increase awareness throughout the month:

Also, take our quiz to determine how passionate you are about quality! Don’t forget to share your favorite quality quote.

For additional resources, ASQ offers a toolkit that is well worth the download.

Happy World Quality Month!  Share your ideas regarding how you and/or your organization spread quality awareness throughout November and beyond.

clqtco5wiaeiwav

Oct
04

Support Manufacturing Education & Awareness on October 7th

“Manufacturing is more than just putting parts together. It’s coming up with ideas, testing principles and perfecting the engineering, as well as final assembly.” ~James Dyson

We post this quote predictably each year as Manufacturing Day approaches.  This year, Manufacturing Day will be observed on October 7th.

What is Manufacturing Day? 

“Manufacturing Day℠ is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.”

Why is it important?

Research reveals the theory behind Manufacturing Day works. For the first time, participants were polled about their experience. A new Deloitte perception survey developed in collaboration with The Manufacturing Institute was distributed to the more than 2,500 manufacturing hosts to gather data from attendees. The results are dramatic:

  • 81 percent of student respondents are more convinced manufacturing provides careers that are both interesting and rewarding
  • 71 percent of student respondents are more likely to tell friends, family, parents or colleagues about manufacturing
  • 93 percent of educators are more convinced manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding
  • 90 percent of educators indicated they are more likely to encourage students to pursue a career in manufacturing

Who benefits? 

Although Manufacturing Day currently focuses on the United States, it serves as a model for other countries and offers opportunities for collaboration as an effort to achieve a broader reach.

Where do you learn more? 

How do you get involved? 

There are some excellent ideas here, such as hosting an event or organizing an on-site tour, but some additional thoughts include:

  • Host a lunch and share a few related fun facts.
  • Make an announcement and post information throughout the organization networks.
  • Sign a proclamation and invite local government representatives to join you and your team in recognition.
  • If you’re a parent, provide the resources to your child’s school or even speak to your child’s class.

Why get involved? 

According to this source, Manufacturing Day in the United States continues to achieve the objective of creating industry awareness among youth.

untitled

How will you observe and increase awareness this Manufacturing Day? Share your stories with us!

 

Older posts «

» Newer posts