Quality plans enhance awareness of flaws in processes, products, materials, or manufacturing operations. Using no-code platforms and other software helps actualize continual improvement goals and quality objectives.
Quality plans may record steps involved in an operating practice or procedures of a manufacturing a product. It may require manufacturers to attain specific standards in the following: reliability, yield, cost, or aesthetic.
Manufacturers may use quality plans to define product testing, inspection, and audit programs. Organizations often use this type of document to help meet quality improvement objectives. At a high level of an organization, quality goals and plans should be combined with the overall strategic plan.
As quality plans are implemented, each organizational department shapes its own method to contribute to top-level goals. At lower levels, the quality plan is an actionable plan to rectify a faulty process or product flaw. Quality plans may differ depending on an organization’s objective.
While quality plans are core to the manufacturing industry, other industries like pharma and construction use them constantly. Let's take a closer look at how companies in other areas use quality plans.
For quality plans to work, department managers need to train their teams to gain an understanding of what is needed to achieve quality standards.
There are three steps in creating a quality plan. Step one begins with audits of suppliers the company wants to include. These audits ensure that the supplier's capabilities are appropriate for the project and consistent with quality standards. The audit should evaluate the manufacturer’s equipment, materials, processes, and people (including management).
The second stage is to confirm that products meet specific specifications and standards. To accomplish this step, on-site engineers must perform process capabilities studies. The quality plan should include the quality inspection of every product before shipment. Quality inspectors must perform on-site inspections.
Quality inspectors must confirm quality control data, including raw material certifications. The inspector uses test equipment to perform the required inspections as specified in the quality plan.
A quality control plan ensures employees have accurate information to execute processes according to the expected quality standards. It should include the protocols to adhere to when product flaws are detected. Here are some central points that a quality control plan must address.
Quality control plans should include methods and directions which guide manufacturers on how to meet quality expectations. Manufacturers use a monitoring system to assess and test non-conformances before they affect the execution of their processes.
If the company provides support services, tickets describe processes, procedures, and resources. Specialists can then use tickets to systematically track the processes and evaluate the results.
The quality plan is divided into two main areas: Conformance and Non-Conformance. Conformance is tied to preventive activities. These activities relate to materials, documentation, and training processes.
Non-conformance problems associated with errors often require a re-evaluation of all activities related to the process. Continuous improvement activities constantly enhance processes leading to improved deliverables and results.
A quality assurance plan should contain an organizational structure, specifics on each employee's accountabilities, and the qualifications needed to fulfill their responsibilities. It should also outline requirements for suppliers and the materials they ship. A QA plan may include specific product testing, feeds-back test results, customer complaints, and support improvements.
Smaller manufacturers use QA plans to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction. A quality assurance plan specifies who is responsible for specific tasks, and who is accountable for inspecting the work. In smaller companies, it is common for the employee who performs the work to also check its quality.
In larger companies, employees who work in the same area may check each other's work. A quality assurance plan often specifies that certain tasks must be approved by professionals from different quality assurance departments.
A critical part of quality assurance plans is to ensure production materials meet specifications for manufacturing products of a desired quality. The QA plan should document the materials characteristics, who is accountable for checking materials, and the inspection method used.
The corrective action plan is essential to solving problems and specifies how to deal with them. A QA plan should require the person responsible for quality assurance to investigate how failures occur.
By introducing digital solutions into a quality management system, manufacturers can benefit from quality control and quality assurance activities. They streamline production processes, reduce recalls, streamline audits, and meet customer requirements.
Research shows 60% of survey participants cited predictive analytics, sensors, and tracking as critical solutions for improving product service. Predictive solutions analyze masses of data and enable companies to address the root causes of problems before they happen.
Quality plans are a tool that can help quality control and quality assurance.
Manufacturers use digital dashboards to track supplier performance and increase visibility into KPIs, quantities ordered and received. Companies employ supplier performance data to assess where quality risks lie in the supply chain. Machine vision solutions confirm product quality or detect flaws early on in production.
The concept of a Gemba Walk was first introduced by Toyota's process improvement leaders. It allows process managers to be onsite with factory workers and observe manufacturing processes as they happen.
The project team may use a Gemba Walk digital checklist app to capture observations that identify inefficiencies, wastes, and safety hazards.
Process leaders may ask workers “Who addresses your concerns or problems with processes? “Can you identify the root of a particular production problem?”, or, “Is there a part of your job that takes too much time or wastes time?”
Alpha Software has compiled a Gemba Walk checklist mobile app you can download, customize and start using immediately. Manufacturers can use the template to collect and share insights via Excel files or integrate it with any system. Manufacturing executives can take photos, record notes, time and date stamp the walk, and interview team members.
Workers on the shop floor use no-code platforms such as Alpha TransForm to build solutions without needing coding expertise. No-code tools enable quality staff to capture real-time data on mobile devices instead of on tedious paper forms.
An Orlando-based Nautique Boat Company used a no-code solution to track employee productivity and the 5,600 parts they use. It also developed an application to track efficiency and production speed.
Here are a few examples of apps that support quality plans.
Quality plans increase a manufacturer's visibility for inefficient processes, assembly, and material issues. Organizations that implement predictive analytics and machine vision software reduce costs and increase efficiencies. No-code app builders such as Alpha TransForm empower factory shop floor workers to build solutions to automate operations such as quality inspections. This quality control software and quality assurance software can help craft digital threads through your organization.