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5 Ways to Build In Quality

Building quality controls and accountability in-line can help increase efficiency.

  1. Work with your engineering department to make equipment stop and alert the operator when something goes wrong. Sensors can continuously check for misfeeds and worn or broken tools. Automated gauging can be built into the process, too.
  2. Make operators responsible for checking dimensions, surface finish or placement of features to keep good parts moving downstream. Make sure they know when to alert a supervisor if a defect is found. Have work teams post the number of defective parts scrapped or sent back for rework on white boards, along with the current improvement goal. Managers can assess how well they are doing, and see which teams need attention.
  3. Develop mistake-proofing devices. For example:
    • Modify tooling so the operator can use a feature of the part, such as a hole or edge contour, to load it properly.
    • Use red and green LEDs to indicate when steps in a series are performed in the correct order.
  4. Train operators to gauge parts. While some complex gauging must be performed in the lab, many gauges are simple and inexpensive. Make the added step quick by gauging only during processes that require critical dimensions.
  5. Make sure supervisors respond quickly to problems. Response time and total downtime should be tracked as targets for improvement.

In a quality-at-the source culture focused on correcting problems when they occur, scrap rates and rework will go down. That helps keep the bottom line healthy.


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