The process of quality control ensures that the manufacturing standards of a product are maintained and improved. The quality control process allows companies to meet customer expectations while ensuring consistent levels of product quality. Adopting these standards creates a company culture where all employees are encouraged to strive for high-quality production standards. Low-code and no-code software can become a game-changer for quality control teams looking to digitize their data and analysis.
Why Implement Quality Control?
The primary purpose of quality control is to look for any corrective actions to improve products during the manufacturing process. An essential component of quality control is setting up a system of checks that outline acceptable product parameters and standardize production processes. Standards are established and assessed across the manufacturing line, where employees assemble the raw materials and produce finished products. Testing each product at different stages of its development helps identify production issues and remedy them quickly.
Often companies employ specialized personnel, create quality benchmarks, and test products across various product lines. Not only do these practices set standards for production, but they can also ensure that employees do not get involved in tasks that they do not know.
Quality control methods depend on the kind of products the business is manufacturing and the related industry. For instance, if the company operates within the food or drug industry, manufacturers must ensure their products do not make anyone sick or aren’t contaminated. There may also be rigorous plant or production line certifications or regulatory requirements that must be followed.
Advantages of Consistent Quality Control
Across the manufacturing industry, quality control offers tremendous benefits. Some of them include:
Effective quality control reduces production costs. Careful standards ensure that faulty products are eliminated swiftly and improvements are made to correct the problems. As quality improves, the company reduces ongoing costs from rework, scrap, and wasted worker time. This means optimal utilization of resources, thus decreasing supply and production costs.
Consistently turning out high-quality products ensures that the company can meet industrial standards for quality and meet stringent regulations. When quality control is carefully tooled to meet compliance needs, the manufacturing line can run smoothly, even in an industry such as medical devices, which is highly regulated.
#3: Maintaining Customer Loyalty
Producing high-quality products helps to nurture a positive brand image. Customer satisfaction will be higher and hopefully lead to long-term customer loyalty. Buyers will gain more confidence in your brand and recommend it to their friends and family, ultimately improving sales.
#4: Challenges Around Digitizing Quality Data
Quality control is essential to manufacturing. Therefore, digitizing the collection and analysis of quality data is a priority for many manufacturers. Unfortunately, IT teams are understaffed and overburdened, unable to build the desktop applications or mobile apps required for modern quality management. More quality teams are taking it upon themselves to digitize their processes to streamline efforts and better handle their data.
Low-Code and No-Code Software
Low-code and no-code software can become a game-changer for quality control teams looking to digitize their data and analysis. Low-code software makes the quality management process simpler and more seamless. Quality teams usually need to get IT assistance if they hope to add new digitization or data analysis capabilities to the existing manufacturing system of record. Low-code software can augment significant MES (Manufacturing Execution System) or QMS (Quality Management System) systems, allowing companies to build focused, task-based apps to speed data collection without resource IT help.
Quality teams can utilize low-code software to create and deploy data collection or inspection apps in weeks or days. Low-code software allows quality teams to eliminate paper-based processes by automating data collection and digitizing quality control processes, often without the app builder knowing how to code apps. Quality team members, floor leaders, and manufacturing experts with industry knowledge can use low-code or no-code software to quickly build their own specialized tools and not bog down the IT department with more software requests.
Benefits of Low-Code for Quality Control
There are several benefits of using low-code or no-code software for quality control and management:
In the manufacturing industry, machines are interdependent, so if a problem occurs in one machine, it will affect the others down the line. By collecting data manually or using sensors and delivering the data to a dashboard application, managers can monitor the status of the manufacturing process. For instance, if a machine goes offline, an app collecting machine sensor data could immediately send out an alert that the machine has fallen outside of acceptable parameters. Production or quality managers could take immediate action. Over time, data trends could be analyzed to spot insights and improve equipment performance.
#2: Better, More Accurate Production Data
Paper processes can be error-prone. They cannot capture rich data like images, time and date stamps, audio interviews, barcodes, etc. When manufacturers digitize data collection, they capture richer, more accurate data that can immediately be shared and analyzed across the organization. This saves time for quality inspectors and ensures companies can make decisions based on accurate, complete, and instantly available data.
#3: Making Work Processes Easier
Manufacturers have been using paper-based instructions, policies, and manuals for a long time. This can lead to outdated or incomplete information or even workers having to search for a manual when they need it. Paper materials are also unable to present interactive information, such as a video on how to repair an offline piece of equipment. Manufacturers are using low-code applications to inspect manufacturing equipment and immediately serve up relevant PDF or video manuals for related repairs. These apps can also be used to train new employees or ensure that repairs are done correctly and timely.
#4: Predictive Maintenance and Connected Factories
IoT (Internet of Things) sensors and artificial intelligence technologies hold new promises for manufacturers. Paper-based processes and clipboards on the manufacturing floor cannot realize the benefits of these technologies. An IoT-based maintenance application has the potential to predict the probability of failure of a particular machine accurately. It analyzes data from different sensors and alerts supervisors about the possibility of a failure. In turn, supervisors can make timely maintenance schedules to tackle the problem before it actually occurs. When smart factories are connected, this can provide multi-site managers with powerful insight into their plant operations.
#5: Tracking Inventories
A low-code inventory management application can provide real-time visibility into available inventory or supply materials. Bar codes can be scanned, and inventory can be managed through a mobile app. Apps can even track the shipment of raw materials and ensure that they are delivered on time and cataloged accurately for future use. Quality and production teams can avoid material shortages and ensure deliveries aren’t sitting on a dock by making the data digital.
The Future of Quality Control
Low-code and no-code programs add immense value to the Industry 4.0 revolution. By improving agility, connectedness, efficiency, real-time visibility, and communication, low-code and no-code apps are the future of quality control. With the most robust software enabling artificial intelligence and machine learning analytics to strengthen quality control, this software can also prepare manufacturers to innovate in the future.