Every manufacturing organization prides itself on the quality of its products. Yet there’s always room for improvement: even the most meticulous organizations can stand to re-evaluate and refine their methods when it comes to quality control.
Interested in assessing your own organization’s level of quality? The following four steps can help you identify key areas of quality improvement at your organization and strengthen the quality of your output overall.
1. Document A Plan for Quality
The first step to achieving a superlative level of quality at your organization is to document your organization’s quality standards. Writing down your organization’s expectations creates a standardized benchmark to identify areas for continuous improvement.
For example, you may want to document production steps, categories of mistakes/errors during production, responsibilities among team members, testing requirements, your change control and change management processes -- the list goes on. If your organization’s industry is monitored by a government body (such as the FDA), you will want to incorporate the appropriate standards into your organization’s quality plan as well.
Once written out, this information should live in an easily-accessible place so that team members can reference the standards whenever needed. A Knowledge Base or other online library should work nicely as a repository for your quality control documents.
2. Educate Your Staff
What good is your set of standards if employees remain uneducated on the details? Everyone in your company should know and understand your quality control standards -- not just management or the individuals on your quality control team.
The best manufacturing teams in the world make their teams a part of the quality process. Teaching all of your staff the ins and outs of your quality standards cuts down on errors and encourages employees to keep their eyes peeled for shortcomings throughout the process. Catch more errors earlier, cut down on costly production mistakes, and empower your staff to involve themselves in the quality control process.
Neglecting to train staff can prove to be an expensive oversight when errors occur. With issue tracking software like Issuetrak, scheduling staff training and educating new hires during onboarding is a breeze. Create issues to remind employees and managers to set up training times and easily log training hours through custom submission forms. Issuetrak’s Task Manager helps keep track of where employees are in the training or onboarding process. You can even schedule recurring issues for trainings that need to be refreshed after a certain number of months or years.
3. Listen to Customer Comments and Complaints
Another effective method for improving quality at your organization is to listen actively to your customers and formally track their comments and complaints. Mistakes that slip through the cracks during production will inevitably end up in the hands of your customers; while your ultimate goal may be to reduce complaints overall, reading and internalizing customer comments can show you exactly where your efforts are falling short during production.
Your customers are the ultimate quality testers, using your product outside the confines of your organization’s facilities. You can generally count on their feedback to provide an honest account of the durability, craftsmanship, and overall quality of your product.
The best way to track and manage customer feedback is through an issue tracking software solution like Issuetrak. Customers can submit complaints directly into Issuetrak’s organized, centralized repository, where staff can easily and quickly read and respond to their concerns. And Issuetrak’s robust reporting feature allows stakeholders to analyze trends over time and highlight areas of improvement.
4. Find an Effective Software Solution
While it’s possible to complete the above three steps using manual processes, using a dedicated software solution specifically crafted to assist in your organization’s Quality Control efforts takes a huge amount of stress off your team’s shoulders. Using emails, spreadsheets, sticky notes, or even physical binders full of loose paper leads to disorganization and lost information over time.
Issuetrak handles your organization’s manufacturing needs in one centralized place. Use it to handle complaints, change requests, document management, process safety management, and more. You’ll see your team’s efficiency improve, your communication grow, and your handle on quality control soar.
Want to hear firsthand how Issuetrak can help your company on its journey toward continuous improvement? Head to the Issuetrak for Manufacturing page on our website, or speak with one of our experts directly! We’d be happy to chat with you about how Issuetrak can take your organization’s quality control to the next level.