For companies that manufacture products of any kind, there is a direct link between quality control and the number of units sold. Engineers and technical staff sweating the QC details in the bowels of the factory may not see the link, nor may the salespeople who deliver high-tech presentations to million-dollar prospects in corporate suites. Nevertheless, the link exists, and it is solid: Well-made and consistent products boost revenues, while product defects drive existing customers and prospects into the eager arms of competitors.
Poor design, inadequate materials, lack of testing, and inadequate quality control measures are all possible problems in a product design. When products are poorly designed, they can be difficult to use or have limited functionality. The use of geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) can help avoid such problems as it can assist in determining the nominal size and its allowable variation. In general, GD&T symbols (such as the profile of a surface) are used to specify the tolerance of a product’s size, orientation, location, and form. As a result, a manufacturer can make a final product that meets the desired design specifications.
Similar to poor design, poor-quality materials can also lead to the creation of unreliable products. Lack of testing can lead to products that are not fit for purpose or do not meet safety standards. Design and manufacturing verticals like automotive, aerospace, performance machinery, etc require a high standard of quality for even the most basic of materials. Taking que from the automotive sector itself, the ubiquitous wired mesh is part of a whole host of parts and assemblies such as wheel filters, seals, exhaust padding, bump stops, engine breathers, you name it. But when the product isn’t hot dipped or durable steel wire cloth or of a specific consistency, then it leads to below standard performance.
In essence, inadequate quality control measures can lead to products that are inconsistent or of low quality. The accompanying resource presents a highly focused overview of QC that may be helpful for startups in manufacturing, converting, and fabrication, as well as personnel in manufacturing organizations who may not realize how important QC is to the success of their companies – and perhaps to their careers.
The term “quality control” is often used loosely and means different things to different people. The resource, we are glad to report, goes to the trouble of defining quality control and distinguishing it from quality assurance, another important discipline in manufacturing. For example, quality control is often prioritized heavily over quality assurance in medical equipment, with the use of a QMS system to guide manufacturing. This is due to the nature of medical devices and their life-saving need. Consequently, the essence of quality control is its focus on preventing defective products from reaching the customer – this is the overarching goal of QC and the purpose behind every QC test, inspection, report, and review. Once you understand this simple (but sometimes elusive) definition of QC, its connection to sales becomes crystal clear.
On the flip side, high quality standards help build a company’s reputation for quality; attract prospects; generate referrals; earn reorders; enable the company to set higher prices; and push competitors into other markets and products niches. This is why QC should be every employee’s favorite department. To learn more about quality control and how to improve it in your organization, please continue reading.
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