Tag: quality control

The World is Not Flat… Pro QC’s VP/Americas discusses trends in logistics and supply

Pro QC’s VP/Americas, Michael L. Hetzel, was recently asked to join Awarely at the AON Center in Chicago to discuss the latest trends in logistics and supply and expand on Pro QC’s expertise in providing quality control and engineering services.

The interview begins with identifying the largest trend, which Michael discusses as the supply chain architecture changing.  He discusses the start of companies moving their supply chains to manufacturers more in proximity to market.  Our competitive advantage at Pro QC is that we are able to anticipate and respond to these changes and have personnel appropriately positioned. Michael adds that we “reduce a challenge for our client base by being able to be present wherever in the supply chain structure that it makes sense to help them manage quality and conformance.”

When discussing the benefits and value of using a 3rd party quality provider such as Pro QC, Michael focuses on scalability and flexibility. He also adds that “we are also more dispassionate than your own employees.”  There’s the benefit of a “fresh look.” In addition, using a 3PQ saves time. By doing this, we reduce the risk of waiting for replacements and the associated cost.  “Being engineering based, but also multinational and western owned allows us to understand what the expectations are between countries. The cultural translation is actually a very significant value that we bring.”

Coordinate measurement machines (CMM): What are they and who needs it?

Within our testing laboratory in Ningbo, China, our engineers perform mechanical, electrical, environmental and other special testing as required by our clients. Experienced engineers use applicable and regionally specific standards, such as ASTM, IEC or ANSI specifications, to conduct a variety of in-house and on-site testing. One of our most common testing procedures involves the use of either a portable or in-house CMM.  

What is a coordinate measurement machine? 

“A coordinate measuring machine (CMM) is a device for measuring the physical geometrical characteristics of an object.” 

“Dimensional inspection is used in process control; its results adjust the parameters of
the manufacturing process to achieve the desired outputs. Computer controlled
dimensional inspection is typically performed with a Coordinate Measuring Machine
or CMM, which is a very precise mechanical system designed to move a measuring
probe to determine coordinates of points on a work piece surface. A CMM consists
of a workspace in which parts are fixed, a sensor for detecting the part surfaces, a
mechanical assembly for moving the part sensor around the workspace, and a
computer with software used in calculating the part dimensions based on the sensor
measurements.” (Source)

Product Inspection Strategy

A frequent question account managers receive is how to employ an inspection strategy to identify issues early and continue to ensure that product meets specifications.  Most agree that the tangible and intangible costs associated with poor quality support a preemptive strategy. The answer isn’t necessarily a simple one due to the variances involved in product-specific requirements.  But, a general method of attack is suggested here:
Inspection Plan Development
A good plan is only as good as its foundation, so a comprehensive and detailed product specification is critical to the success of the overall strategy.  Pro QC often assists clients with this documentation creation and also uses it internally to direct engineers on-site.  A good plan incorporates anything that will affect the salability and performance of the product.
First-Article Inspections
Pro QC inspects first-article samples prior to volume production.  That means the product specifications are being met and reengineering won’t be necessary at an inconvenient point of time in the future.
In-Process Inspections
These on-site inspections evaluate samples of your products selected during the manufacturing process.  It confirms the quality of your product and allows any necessary changes to be addressed early on.  Incorporating these inspections reduces rework time and costs.
Pre-Shipment Inspections
During a pre-shipment inspection, engineers verify that the finished goods confirm to your specifications.  A representative sample is chosen randomly from the lot using a sampling plan such as ANSI Z1.4. The criteria is used to determine sampling levels and accept/reject determinations.
Inspection schedules are dependent on factors such past performance, so costs associated with preventative action are also reduced as performance becomes predictable and/or stable.  Continuous improvement and consistent results means investing in quality throughout the process and avoiding associated risks and cost in the future.

Spend $5… Get Quality Improvement Made Simple & Fast

I finally had an opportunity to unpack all of the books I scored from the Quality Press booth at the World Conference on Quality & Improvement this past week.  I’m hoping to include a master list of recommendations in the next newsletter but couldn’t resist posting something here about a little gem I found.  For $5, I picked up a book called Quality Improvement Made Simple & Fast, written by Matthew J. Maio.  I couldn’t resist spending $5 on something that claimed to “help ordinary people make extraordinary contributions to their organizations.”  Right?

With 44 pages, don’t let the length of the book fool you!  In fact, I thought the KISS approach worked brilliantly here.  I read the book on the flight back and have referenced it several times since.  Even reading over material you’re knowledgable about can spark inspiration… certainly an indicator of a good book!

Maio is no stranger to quality and knows his stuff… A bio full of ASQ certifications and industry experience that incorporates Honeywell and Raytheon is impressive.  More impressive is that someone that could have very easily made the topic too technical or dare I say boring, instead produced a to-the-point and entertaining guidebook complete with comical illustrations and a chapter full of forms you can incorporate however you like!

So, get a copy… Start understanding your customers, planing, doing, studying and acting now…  “The learning will come from doing. If you follow this simple guide, you will know whether the changes you make, are, in fact, real improvements.”