Content By Quality Digest

James Wells’s picture

By: James Wells

When is a product “good enough” to accept? This is the classic challenge of quality. High customer expectations demand that suspect products be thoroughly scrutinized and a high standard set for their release. Customers expect this, and quality staff strive to achieve it.

The other side of the tug of war is cost. Business leaders are looking for every advantage they can get in reducing their costs, and scrap products are one of the biggest targets out there. Sometimes it seems that quality leaders and business leaders don’t even speak the same language. Quality leaders talk with great animation about “doing the right thing for the customer,” while business leaders talk in terms of time and money.

Does it have to be this way? Can quality and business be on the same side?

In short, the answer is yes. What is required is a change in language, attitude, and approach about quality. The two models below help to illustrate the different attitudes about quality. The tool is a cost-of-quality metric set. There are generally two schools of thought on quality cost behavior. The opposing viewpoints are illustrated below.

Andrew Schutte’s picture

By: Andrew Schutte

Industrial engineers design, develop, test, and evaluate integrated systems for managing industrial production processes. Functions include quality control, human work factors, inventory control, logistics and material flow, cost analysis, and production coordination. These and other facets are usually part of the job description when being hired.

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 10-percent growth rate among industrial engineers from 2019 to 2029, the attrition rate is anecdotally just as high; that equates to 100-percent attrition in a decade. Nowhere is the dissatisfaction and attrition of industrial engineers as great as in the engineer-to-order manufacturing space.

Quality Digest’s picture

By: Quality Digest

(Mahr: Providence, RI) -- Mahr, a global manufacturer of precision measurement equipment used for dimensional metrology, introduces its MarForm MMQ 500, which extends Mahr’s benchtop form-tester portfolio with new levels of speed and flexibility.

Quality Digest’s picture

By: Quality Digest

(ASM: Suwanee, GA) -- With its ASM Factory Equipment Center, ASM is now offering a powerful, integrated software-based solution for companywide asset and maintenance management. You can plan, control, execute, support, and document the maintenance and repairs of all ASM and non-ASM machines, feeders, production tools, and placement heads centrally, including equipment in areas that are not part of your SMT production.

Since you control the software via an approved browser, access is extremely easy and possible from most mobile devices. ASM is also forging new paths in terms of licensing with a demand-based rental model instead of having to purchase the software. Since the rental fee for ASM Factory Equipment Center is based on the number of assets being managed, transparent operating expenses replace investments and their complex depreciation calculations.

Quality Digest’s picture

By: Quality Digest

(Optical Gaging Products: Rochester, NY) -- Cygnus Manufacturing Co. (CMC) is a leading manufacturer and supplier of high-precision products and components for the medical device, transportation, energy, and aerospace industries. CMC provides full-service manufacturing from prototype through production.

As an FDA-compliant and ISO 13485-certified medical devices manufacturer, a leading U.S. ventilator company approached CMC at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic requesting expeditious assistance to substantially increase its production of a specialty valve in response to the country’s shortage of life-saving ventilators. The ventilator company had a chrome on brass part that required measuring 31 datapoints after the part was manufactured and also after it was plated. Importantly, as a medical device manufacturer, they needed CMC to document all measurements. CMC currently manufactured this valve, but the substantial increase in required production volume in a compressed time frame necessitated a much faster and more automated measuring capability.

Quality Digest’s picture

By: Quality Digest

(Exact Metrology: Cincinnati) -- Exact Metrology, a comprehensive 3D metrology service provider and hardware sales company, sells Raytech Measuring Systems.

These are shop-floor dimensional measuring machines like the single-axis and the three-axis table for industrial manufacturers. The company offers machines for measuring parts for cutting, bending, punching, waterjet cutting, laser cutting, drilling, and tapping. Custom machines are also available.

Single-axis table

Yoav Kutner’s picture

By: Yoav Kutner

Like business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce, business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce allows customers to purchase parts and supplies via an online portal. The difference is that in B2B ecommerce, both the customers and suppliers are businesses, and the customers may or may not be the end users of the product being purchased. In addition, a B2B solution needs to let customers submit a request for quote (RFQ), negotiate, and do more of the back-and-forth that occurs in business transactions.

Despite the fact that purchasing is done online—a digital solution for many B2B online platforms—a lot of the back-end processes are still done manually, not much differently than in a brick-and-mortar business. An online order might need to be copied and pasted into an Excel spreadsheet or even an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, for instance. Ditto for getting customer information into a customer relationship management (CRM) system or generating quotes. This manual back-end work keeps both customer and supplier from operating efficiently, introducing errors into orders, or even delaying orders.

Nicholas Wyman’s picture

By: Nicholas Wyman

It’s a new year, with a new president and new opportunities to boost modern apprenticeship programs in the United States that can help get people back to work and stimulate the economy.

Getting people into apprenticeships has never been more vital, as job losses caused by the pandemic continue to affect millions. Young people in particular have been hit hard, as they’re most likely to be employed in retail and hospitality, two sectors essentially shut down during the Covid-19 crisis. Speed is vital. We can’t risk losing an entire youth cohort to sustained joblessness that could affect their entire lives. Funding new apprenticeships not only provides jobs now, but also generates high, long-run gains in skills, productivity, and earnings for young workers and companies.

Luckily, there are proven strategies for creating apprenticeships and getting young people employed. We just need to look abroad: Australia and the United Kingdom have strong apprenticeship programs and moved quickly to protect apprenticeships when pandemic-related job losses hit last summer. Their experience highlights four strategies that could be adopted by the Biden Administration and funded through the next stimulus program.

Quality Digest’s picture

By: Quality Digest

(Brunson Instrument Co.: Kansas City, MO) -- Completing a 21-year career at Brunson Instrument Co., general manager Richard Powell will retire later this year. The company has initiated a vigorous search for Powell’s replacement, and he will continue in his current capacity until the position is filled.

“Many of our manufacturing and operational innovations are a result of Richard’s vision and perseverance—providing us the ability to best serve our growing customer base,” says Deighton Brunson, the company’s CEO. “Richard’s accomplishments at Brunson have transformed us into a modern company.”

Gleb Tsipursky’s picture

By: Gleb Tsipursky

Stakeholder engagement is one of the more critical aspects of leadership, whether you’re a team leader or a member of a cross-functional team trying to lead team members to focus on quality. Stakeholders can be anyone from your colleagues to suppliers to business partners, and your relationship with them is dynamic and can change over time.

There are many advantages to identifying and getting to know your stakeholders, and even more disadvantages to not engaging with them. Failing to understand their needs can lead to blind spots for managers and executives, which can have disastrous effects, such as low employee morale or a dismal bottom line.

On the other hand, effective engagement can result in increased productivity and stronger financials. We can use research-based strategies to notice such blind spots so we can overcome them.