By The Pro QC Quality Assurance Team So, you’re evaluating your supplier, and you need to figure out how to improve factory performance, reduce defect rates, and to raise efficiency. The two major points you need to prioritize are improving production quality (and as a result, product quality), and ensuring your goods comply with global standards. Improving Production Quality Conducting a process audit or a root cause analysis of a given problem is usually a good first step. Production quality is usually based on one of the following elements that make up the entire production process: Man, Machine Material, Method, Measurement, Environment. Known as the 5M1E1P process, each factor plays a role in process control and the total quality management process. Man: has the worker been professionally trained and qualified for the task? Machine: is the machine suitable or precise enough for the process? Material: does the raw material or component meet the requirement? Method: is the chosen manufacturing process suitable for this product and is it under control? Measurement: are there suitable instruments and inspection to ensure product and process parameters are accurate and within specifications? Environment: are the products manufactured under the right conditions? Is it too hot? Or too cold? Or too humid? Product: is the product too complicated in design? Or has it been over or under-engineered? Production issues usually arise when some combination of the above factors is misaligned. Assessing the problems from the bottom up can help reduce the defect rate of products. Becoming or Staying Compliant Achieving compliance is not a job for just one person but requires the entire company to work together across divisions. This also requires the management to be very objective throughout the process. This is why many companies outsource the job to external experts who can objectively facilitate the establishment of a quality management system, without the burden of internal relations. It is the job of the top management to assign and support a quality management representative – who can then form a core team and implement a compliance standard process for the entire company to follow. This requires constant review in order to continue to improve on the end-product. An external consultant can help guide this internal team with existing steps and documentation templates. External consultants can also offer tried and tested means of working through problems in the process. This can be helpful for companies to get a fresh, outsider’s perspective of what could be hindering the factory from reaching compliance standards. A Compliance Example Pro QC advised a company that was looking to implement and sustain a quality system in order to improve the production quality of their alloy frame windows, which they export to the US market. By implementing a quality system, they wanted to take this opportunity to achieve – an ISO 9001 certification. The factory had already done the hard work of introducing the quality mindset across the factory operations and to understand that the success of the company will follow when they produce good quality window frames. The product quality was already good, to begin with, and all they needed was someone to assist them in implementing a systematic quality approach across all departments through the use of the ISO 9001 framework. The result of this effort helped the company take that leap into entering a higher quality product bracket, and subsequent certification. Improving factory performance doesn’t have to be difficult. Pro QC can help you implement a continuous improvement process to help improve factory performance, reduce defect rates, and raise your supplier compliance levels to a higher standard.