October 25, 2019
If you’re manufacturing and supplying a product, quality issues can arise during the process, and while the ideal situation is to avoid these issues altogether, it’s nevertheless important to act accordingly when any quality problems do arise.
Your business needs to be seen to be taking the relevant steps to rectify the issue. You should also gather as much data as you can from one instance of quality issues in order to take steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
Pre-emptive Planning is Paramount
Don’t wait for quality issues to arise in order to act accordingly. Preventative measures should be taken to avoid problems altogether. Ensure that you have analyzed every step of the production process before product production commences.
It may be a good idea to arrange an audit from an external party to check that everything is arranged as it should be in the first instance. Or apply for a training course such as Six Sigma Green Belt that equips the learner with the skills necessary for analyzing and solving quality problems. This means that any relevant team member can educate themselves in quality problem efficiency before the fact, in order to be best prepared.
Prepare Damage Control Immediately
There should be strategies in place which work to limit the damage caused by product quality issues. This includes any damage to profits, reputation and business relationships. The latter includes relationships with consumers, buyers or investors, to name a few.
Never work to try and hide an issue of quality. Only by openly admitting and discussing the issue can you work to resolve it.
- Communicating with vendors
- Communicating with partners
- Communicating with clients
If you find that you have an issue, you should issue a formal apology for the quality of product. By accepting responsibility, you will help to rebuild damaged relationships and move forward. Afterward, you should recall faulty products immediately, both to prevent issues occurring and for your business to gather data on the issue.
This helps when trying to discover the origin of the quality issue.
When this is completed, you should reassure any relevant party that you are taking the necessary steps to resolve the issue.
Identify the Root Cause
You need to know why this issue of quality arose in the first place, and this begins with who is responsible for the manufacturing. If your company is in charge of manufacturing, then you should take an adequate look at the process involved to identify the problem.
The best way to do this is to arrange and instigate a professional audit.
A thorough audit should include:
- The relevant procedures and how exactly they are following
- The relevant equipment involved in the manufacturing process
- How the equipment is operated, i.e., automatically or manually? Are there any defects?
- Surmising whether human error was at play
- Which strategies are in place to maintain consistency between every item manufactured
This can change if your product is sourced externally through a different production company, however.
You should then communicate with this supplier to arrange an audit of their entire production process. If the audit reveals no issues with the production process, then the root cause of the quality issue may be a design flaw. In this case, you should liaise with the design team. The product should, therefore, be redesigned to address the flaw. The redesign process needs to be fulfilled before the production of the product can recommence.
Taking these relevant steps means you can get to the bottom of where the quality problem arose.
Tackle the Issue Strategically
The main point to remember when dealing with quality issues is that you want production and distribution to recommence quickly. You want to minimize damage in regards to profit loss as much as you are able.
This means finding a strategic solution to any quality issues which have arisen with the relevant framework. The best solution will be cost-effective and working on the basis of a short time frame. You do not want strategic solutions to take a long period of time which could further hinder the process.
The outcome of this strategy should always be aimed towards the design product in its highest quality, without flaws. This strategy could include, but not limited to:
- Improve the work ethic and discipline of the entire process
- Switch to a new supplier or make efforts to research new potential suppliers
- Change any crucial step in the manufacturing process which will make a beneficial difference to the end product
- Have a new test method in place which will test finished products for flaws before they are distributed
- Redesign the product altogether
- Take a new design team on board
- Change the way your product is handled during the manufacturing process
James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.