How Do You Fix Quality Control Issues?
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) listed 399 product recalls just in the first quarter of 2022. With quality control issues ranging from the incorrect expiration date to faulty sensors, these products compromise health and safety — and recalls can cost medical companies thousands to millions of dollars.
Besides these critical errors, lapses in product quality can cause anything from poor fit to engine failure — giving you a bad name among vendors.
You need to resolve quality control issues early and implement quality control at each step of your process to avoid such failures.
Quality control ensures that the final product adheres to set standards, satisfies customers and prevents failures. However, effective quality control requires systematic improvement from a quality management system at every step of the process. Implementing accurate tools for quick and cost-effective quality inspection will help to prevent errors later.
Besides optimizing the product that reaches the end consumer, a practical quality inspection also helps you reduce defects of the products in the pipeline and reduce waste production, long bottlenecks, and unnecessary downtimes.
Read on for more information on a five-step process that helps you identify and tackle quality control issues.
1. Locate the Origin of the Issue
The first step to solving an issue in quality control is identifying where the problem begins by tracing the issue back to its origin. Determining the cause helps you avoid the accumulation of the error, and you can resolve the actual problem instead of applying a band-aid solution — spending time and money to rework the product.
You can implement this by adding quality control checkpoints at the different stages of the production line. This strategy lets you separate and repair the faulty products and pinpoint the location of the problem with minimum effort.
If you need a fast measuring solution for detecting quality control issues, modern 3D scanners are effective measurement tools that quickly collect accurate 3D measurement data. As portable and versatile quality control tools, 3D scanners can be brought anywhere to perform precise measurements without worrying about environmental conditions. This flexibility allows you to install 3D scanners at any production line stage to help identify where the problem starts.
Accurate 3D scanners provide high-resolution scan data that quickly reveal errors or deviations in the product. Intelligent metrology software solutions like GOM Software reveals deformities and allows you to compare the inspected values against the reference values.
Unlike traditional coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) and laser scanners, an industrial 3D scanner that uses blue light technology prevents bottlenecks by capturing data exceptionally quickly. These accurate 3D scanners collect millions of points per scan and provide full-field data for analyses.
2. Take Corrective Action and Define a Plan To Resolve the Issue
Once you have identified the cause of the quality control issue, you can take corrective action. Performing a root cause analysis helps to develop an effective corrective action plan.
You can use different statistical and non-statistical tools to analyze the data you gathered from inspecting the parts. Consider data trending, regression models, and graphical methods to perform statistical analysis — you can do all of this with GOM Software.
Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA), Fault Tree Analysis (FTA), and Ishikawa are some tools you can use to perform non-statistical analysis.
Next, use the root cause analysis results to develop an optimal correction plan that helps you avoid future faults by removing the root cause of the problem.
A correction action plan needs to be extensive, answering questions like:
• What actions will solve the problem? — Outline detailed steps your company must take to prevent the problem from reoccurring.
• Why will it be done? — Explain why the problem occurred and how the recommended steps prevent the problem.
• Where will the action be performed? — Share the exact location for the recommended action.
• Who will do it? — Assign ownership to the action.
• When will it be done? — Plan the timelines and deadlines.
• How much will be spent? — State the budgetary parameters for the job.
You can also try the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC), the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA), and the eight discipline (8D) model to solve the problem.
3. Collaborate To Bring Stakeholders In To Prevent Future Issues
After identifying and solving the issue, you need to develop a solution that helps you avoid similar defects in the future. This step requires accountability from all the stakeholders. Start with strategical communication to reach a reliable and actionable solution.
Not every stakeholder understands the data and the problems it reveals in engineering terms. Relying on figures and jargon can hinder communication. However, you can generate color maps using GOM software to visually convey the information, helping you share information with all the stakeholders and receive their feedback.
You can also train your employees using the visual information and reduce the quality defects arising from certain practices.
Besides preventing future issues in quality control, visual measurement data also helps you mitigate any customer problems with products you haven’t recalled. Updating your distributors and customers creates better communication, and in turn, better business relationships.
4. Analyze Technology To Measure Throughout the Process
Product quality greatly depends on tool quality. Tools wear out over time and start affecting product quality. If unnoticed, eventually, utilizing worn-out tools will cause a serious issue.
You can prevent this quality control issue by making tooling inspection integral to your quality control management. You can implement tooling inspection into your quality control management process by:
• Calibrating the tooling used to manufacture a product at regular intervals
• Inspecting the equipment used throughout the manufacturing process for early signs of defect
• Storing data from inspection in a modern computer database and analyzing it using intelligent inspection software
Using a 3D scanner as an inspection solution for quality control issues, you can use GOM Software to track your tool quality. This intelligent inspection software solution reveals inconsistencies in the 3D measurement data — and helps you identify where the error is.
5. Standardize Measurement Tools Earlier in the Process
Inspecting your parts during different stages of production prevents quality control issues. Designating standard measurement tools provides consistent specifications throughout the product cycle.
Most companies use product manufacturing information (PMI) in their development process, containing the metadata that describes a product’s design. Standardizing methods of communicating part specifications throughout the different stages of production provides the vital transfer of process planning information.
Many companies see success by implementing Model-Based Definition (MBD) embedded with PMI, which includes Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) in the context of a 3D model. This method of communicating design specifications with 3D models instead of 2D drawings provides an efficient and concise way to convey manufacturing data that helps prevent quality control issues before they ever begin.
Using MBD with PMI also helps by:
• Offering a quick method of managing and transferring information through a master 3D model, providing a single source of truth from the beginning
• Removing quality control issues caused by misinterpretation of a 2D drawing
• Allowing you to update the master 3D model during the production
• Reducing unnecessary rework and scrap during the production
• Keeping suppliers and workers on the same page with consistent part specifications each time
Modern 3D scanners also allow you to compare the digitized components against the 3D model using GOM Software, pinpointing any shortcomings in your manufacturing process.
Learn More About How to Identify and Improve Quality Control Issues
Quality control issues come with many lasting consequences that cause a ripple effect throughout your organization. A couple of bad batches can cost you thousands of dollars directly and millions of dollars indirectly by earning a bad reputation.
To ensure that doesn’t happen to you, tackle your quality control problems by following the five-step process discussed above. Develop a robust inspection routine and implement effective tools to support that routine.
Modern 3D scanners can help you inspect your produced parts without causing bottlenecks in production. These accurate measurement solutions can make the difference you need to build your reputation.
Contact CAPTURE 3D to schedule a demo today and get on top of your quality control issues now!