Quality control software increases inspection efficiency and minimizes error-prone paper-based processes. Alpha TransForm and Alpha Anywhere allow employees with minimal coding expertise to create solutions that enable seamless manufacturing processes
Quality control’s focus is to provide confirmation that a selection of products meets customer specifications. The final inspection is a crucial part of any quality control process. This involves checking a sample of products against a checklist, and marking each item as a pass or fail.
As you might imagine, companies ship thousands of products every day. How is an inspector supposed to know how many samples to test? On the one hand, it is much faster and cheaper to select a few products. On the other hand, if the product sample is too small, how can it accurately represent the entire shipment?
There is a solution known as 'normal severity' with three testing phases (I, II, and III) from less stringent to more stringent. Inspectors may need to perform a special level test for two reasons. Firstly, some tests may take too long, hence becoming very expensive. Secondly, product damage; let’s say an inspector needed to undo stitches to check the lining of a coat or a jacket.
Many businesses use quality control and quality assurance interchangeably because both are closely related. They are also two critical cogs of the quality management system. So let’s clarify some of the differences:
Quality control involves the operations and methods used to inspect and ensure product quality. Quality assurance is process-focused. Thus, there is a direct link between quality assurance and the activities involved in making a product.
The risks of poor quality control affect everyone, from shop floor workers to employees responsible for deliveries. Products may need reproducing to meet quality specifications. This includes rework, which delays deliveries. A delay in a delivery can trigger a contractual clause that requires the organization to pay a hefty fine.
Once a manufacturer delivers its products, there may still be quality issues that go unnoticed. A customer may lose faith in a manufacturer if this happens even once.
Even if it's a one-time flaw in a product, word will likely spread adversely affecting the company’s reputation. Failure to identify a flaw can lead to a lack of customer satisfaction and rework that could hurt your business.
Manufacturers use quality control solutions to minimize quality issues and save costs. With more organizations adopting these technologies, nobody wants to fall behind. Here are a few benefits and advantages of digitalizing quality control.
Quality control software solutions allow organizations to track product defects and address issues earlier. Such solutions have a central communication portal that improves communications between businesses and their customers. Manufacturers are also able to standardize processes and audit reports quicker.
Inferior products result in substantial costs. Digital quality control solutions pinpoint issues on the factory floor and address them on the spot. Eliminating quality issues before businesses deliver products reduces chargebacks, customer complaints, and lost sales.
A main concern of manufacturers is to ensure their products meet quality control regulations like ISO 13485 for medical devices. A part of this process is maintaining compliance documents, which can be tedious. Quality control solutions allow large and small manufacturers to manage and store documents. A document control system enables companies to comply with industry standards more efficiently.
Traditional quality management solutions only work when connected to the internet. Low connectivity or network failures hamper productivity. Low-code platforms such as Alpha Anywhere and Alpha TransForm enable manufacturers to work online and offline. Once the internet connection is up and running again, the data updates automatically, saving valuable time.
Sampling inspections involve assessing the quality of a small batch of products. This is both costly and slow, especially with high-volume production lines. Machine Vision and Deep Learning technologies automate inspections, so each product is checked with steady and accurate results.
Machine vision systems provide image-based automatic inspection and analysis to guide quality control processes. The 2D and 3D solutions come equipped with sensors that perform inspection, reading, and measuring tasks more accurately than humans’.
However, machine vision solutions are not enough, as they cannot identify every flaw. Determining how to spot a defect based on an image alone can be complex. Highly trained professionals may miss hard to discern details suggesting a defect. Certain clues may mislead quality risk-averse workers to reject products needlessly.
Deep Learning techniques guide machine vision control systems to detect different types of flaws based on images. Deep learning methods train machine vision systems by feeding them multiple images. This allows them to identify what is acceptable quality and what is not, while continuously refining the results.
Software Quality Control
Software quality control involves monitoring the quality of each software product. In contrast to quality assurance tools used in the software development life cycle, quality control focuses on software testing and review.
Quality control software testing aims to ensure products are consistent with performance and usability standards. Usually, companies define quality standards during the software development process. QU testing tools can also contribute to improving these standards.
Managers employing six sigma practices often adopt quality control software to carefully record and analyze data.
Quality management software can dramatically improve quality throughout the product lifecycle.
Quality Control Solution Used by Pharma and Others
Life sciences companies have used quality control solutions to improve testing and eliminate paper-based processes. Research shows that quality control software accelerates productivity between 50% and 100%. For some businesses, digitizing and automating processes has led to reduced quality deviations by 65%.
Consistent quality control is crucial for manufacturers delivering high quality products that meet customer expectations. Automating quality control processes creates highly efficient production operations. Here are a few innovative quality control features to think about implementing in your company.
Imagine that you are an operator working on the factory floor. Your job requires data collection, performing checklists, and other critical tasks. It is all too easy to miss deadlines if you consistently need to check your watch every few hours.
Pop-up notifications offer gentle nudges to operators to perform checklists, timed-data collections, and notifying them when they’ve reached manufacturing limits. These notifications curtail risks of product flaws and operator errors.
Instant notifications ensure help reduce downtime; improve communications, and support staff and management.
Digital quality checklists on mobile devices provide instant access to data for improved response times and quality improvements throughout the manufacturing process.
Alerts and notifications alert quality management to non-conformances so they can review and take corrective action immediately. Users can take photos of any product, run tests, enter data, and record defects in digital checklists. Document management solutions eliminate tedious paper-based processes throughout the product lifecycle.
Alpha TransForm and Alpha Anywhere allow shop floor workers with minimal coding expertise to create customized applications. Web-based and mobile applications for quality control save costs and increase efficiency by digitizing inspections and manufacturing processes
Tulip's First Pass Yield apps allow quality control staff to track the number of defect-free units without the need for rework. The app calculates the First Pass Yield percentage by tallying the number of products that pass quality control the first time, divided by the total number of units entering the system. This gives a good indication of quality.
FORM's inspection app works on IoS, Android, or desktop. It enables teams to build and assign audits, inspections, and checklists. An offline mode allows inspectors to do their job remotely, in areas with low internet connectivity or cellular signal.
Manufacturers use 1factory to manage quality control processes within their factories and across their supply chains. Features include QC plans, automated CMM data Import, incoming/ in-process/final Inspections, supplier Collaboration, and more.
Reviews: Customer reviews are generally positive. Some say that it helped them create a meaningful quality plan with their suppliers. Others say that it helped them reduce non-conformances. There were few negative reviews. Capterra score: 5.0
The Falcony web-based app uses browser-based technology to conduct inspections and provide reports (available on IoS, Android, or desktop computer). Features include image attachments, automated PDF reports, and real-time statistics.
Reviews: Many customers like its intuitiveness, easy integration, and real-time monitoring. However, some customers found features lacked customizability and login difficult. Capterra score: 4.7/5.0.
Safety Chain's OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) software tracks equipment efficiency. Features include a controls audit, asset tracking, alerts and notifications, and an activity dashboard.
Reviews: Reviewers appreciated the software's flexibility and customizability. Some cited the extensive SPC (statistical process control) tools with real-time control charts, its stability, and intuitiveness as advantages. Others said the document versioning method needed updating. Capterra score: 5.0
Alpha Anywhere takes care of most of the heavy lifting of app development, allowing developers to focus on building and deploying solutions rapidly. Features include easy integration with other manufacturing systems and workflows. Coding is optional, ideal for developers of all skill levels, security framework, front-end and back-end development, and offline functionality.
With Alpha TransForm, shop floor workers or developers can turn any manual process into a mobile app rapidly. Users can build quality inspections, digital checklists, or other data collection apps, then tailor the solution to their needs. Features include a built-in programming language, robust integration, and offline functionality. The helps business users build quality control and inspection apps rapidly. These custom apps can leverage the latest mobile features: Camera, GPS, and more for fast, accurate data capture. The software can integrate with ERP, MES or even a legacy QMS system applications for quality control needs. The mobile apps created with this software can also work without a connection. This ensures that quality control managers and inspectors are always productive, even without a WiFi or cell connection. The company offers free Gemba Walk App, 5S Audit App and Non-Conformance Report App templates you can try for free.
Reviews: Reviewers appreciated the quick learning curve. Other users loved Alpha Anywhere and Alpha TransForm’s capability to create versatile solutions. Reviewers also said that it encourages technical and non-technical staff to collaborate on projects. Alpha Anywhere has recently received a Winter High Performer 2022 recognition from g2.com. Capterra score 5 stars.
Quality management software is essential for all types of manufacturing businesses, especially smaller companies. Studies show that it improves quality standards while increasing production levels and customer satisfaction. It can also lower the cost of quality efforts when it's used for preventative measures.
Research shows QMS software provides a high ROI, reduces errors, and creates continuous improvement across the enterprise. Alpha’s TransForm no-code platform offers possibilities for a range of custom apps quality managers could craft on their own.