Quality. is not an act, it is a habit

In the very foundation of all standards and methodologies which help us to improve the quality of our products, processes or services is the PDCA cycle or Deming cycle. Therefore we in Compendia observe all activities within an organisation through the PDCA paradigm.

The beginning of good quality starts with the simplest of things and that is well-organised, clean and functional workplaces and offices. Therefore our experts will be glad to advise you how to use a simple methodology called 5S (Sort – Set in order – Shine – Standardise – Sustain) which is also one of the basic LEAN tools.

Communication (or lack of it) plays an important role in every organisation’s quality plan. Important information has to communicated in a clear, visible and transparent way. One example are informational boards for your employees in production or support services. We can show you some of the best practices and how certain things are communicated via those boards.

The PDCA or Plan-Do-Check-Act is an iterative quality improvement method used in different organisation worldwide and is a foundation of many quality management and improvement standards and techniques. The PDCA cycle consists of 4 main parts: PLAN – Establish the output expectation; DO – Perform the process and implement Plan; CHECK – Results are analysed and compared to the desired ones; ACT – Decision if PLAN gave results good enough to become a new standard or not. If you would like to learn more about this method or implement it in your organisation then we can offer our assistance.

Control Plan or CP is a basic document of quality assurance. Actually it is a document that specifies and defines all steps, tools and corrective actions which have to used or implemented in order to have a process that gives output which fulfils official and unofficial customer requirements.

Regardless if an organisation gets a warranty claim from external sources (customers), internal sources (departments) or hands over one to it’s subcontractors (suppliers) a standardised process has to be implemented in order to control the outcome of the claim and prevent it from happening again. Eight Disciplines or 8D problem solving is an industry standard and an easy way to get hand on claims and prevent them in future.

5W or 5-Why is another iterative method or an interrogative technique which is derived from the ancient Greece philosophy – hence the name the Socratic method. The main goal of this technique is to determine the root cause of certain problem or defect. It is accomplished by repeating the question “Why?” and each answer forms the basis of the next question.

Many organisations are not paying enough attention to the process control and their stability and repeatability. Usually more thorough quality control or control methods are introduced (and also forced) in order to detect all non-conforming products. These measures are curative and usually the most expensive ones. The easy way of controlling quality during the production process is using a statistical process control or SPC. Control parameters critical for the operations are first defined, data is collected and interpreted in order to build a good SPC system.

Failure mode and effects analysis or FMEA is a highly structured technique found in the golden era of rocket science by reliability engineers in order to study, mitigate and prevent problems and malfunctions in military systems. In the last 50 years electronics have made a huge breakthrough and is now influencing almost all spheres of our life. We’re putting trust in our car ignition or airbag systems, life support systems and power transmission which is controlled by software that is being run on advanced circuitry. The way to control and prevent undesired and highly dangerous malfunctions is to recognize them long before they happen. FMEA is a great and widely accepted tool for that!

Poka-yoke is a Japanese term for “mistake-proofing” and is by itself one of the mechanisms used in LEAN methodology. Concept of poka-yoke is simple yet sometimes hard to implement, especially in later phases of production or if potential problems have not be foreseen earlier in the design phase. However, if poka-yoke is implemented in the right way it can positively influence the quality of the organisation’s production processes. Poka-yoke simply means that there is only one way to perform a certain operation and that that way is at the same time the correct way. The most wide-known poka-yoke example is the RJ45 connector. It can only be connected one way and at the same time correct way.

The first step to have repeatable processes regardless if they’re performed manually or using the machines is to have a standardised documentation or set of rules, describing how certain operations should be performed. Documentation is therefore one of key ingredients if you want to have stable processes. It should be easy to interpret and not too long or complex. Our process engineers have a lot of experience with good and bad documentation and we would be glad if we could give you advice and help you find a right measure of documentation for you.

All expenses connected with non-conforming products fall onto the producer (if not specified differently). Therefore it is important to recognise non-conforming product as early as possible and prevent it from going to next production process before it is being reworked or isolated from production. Being unable to detect non-confirming products and sending them through the whole production process and shipping it to the customer will bring unnecessary financial expenses or worse consequences, depending on the industry and customer’s requirements. Furthermore, recognising conforming products as non-conforming can bring even more “waste” which can highly affect organisation’s operations and financial stability. Therefore it is of utmost importance for all stakeholders to be familiar with the industry standards and how to recognise faulty products or procedures.