Conducting final quality checks at the end of production remains very popular; however, it loses its effectiveness and efficiency when used as the only criteria for identifying risk. Because the ultimate goal is not to find a faulty part but to avoid it occurring in the first place, waiting until the end of the manufacturing process to check for quality issues can cost you more.
Defects can vary in severity from minor appearance flaws to those critical to safety. Regardless, identifying these issues when the products are already complete will, on many occasions, require the production to be reworked, wasting time and materials. This can also lead to shipment delays and additional freight costs while impacting product reliability.
Instead of relying solely on Final Random Inspections, assessing the entire manufacturing process can significantly improve finished products. Common scenarios that impact final product outcomes include:
- Incoming materials are not properly stored or inspected.
- Workstations are not arranged well or correctly set up.
- Operators perform processes against instructions.
- Station workloads are unbalanced.
- Parameters of test equipment and tools are incorrect.
- The operator does not understand the product quality requirements.
- The inspection plans for outgoing goods or sample sizes are insufficient.
- Not enough quality controls during the inspection process.
Three examples of common assembly line issues
It is important to understand that the complexity of the manufacturing process will vary based on the type of product – and so will the risk. A more complicated product such as an automatic coffee machine or a steam oven, or a more complex assembly process, will most likely present a higher risk level. Other contributing elements include the maturity and knowledge of the factory, the actual capabilities of the production line, familiarity of the workers with the product requirements, and more.
Issues in the assembly line can lead to faulty products, which, in some instances, can be anticipated depending on the product's nature. Examples include:
Identifying the root cause of an issue can be challenging, but it is critical to detect and prevent mistakes as soon as possible in the manufacturing process. Consider implementing this five-step practice internally:
- Build a team to address the issue.
- Identify the risks of the mistake.
- Find the root cause.
- Redesign the process based on the root cause.
- Track the solution’s performance.
At API, we can provide support to identify, assess, and improve manufacturing processes. Our dedicated In Production Process Assessment program takes an in-depth look at in-house procedures, from outsourced materials to final assembly. Some of the program’s benefits include:
- Identification of good practices and opportunities for improvement
- Improved critical processes
- Improved customer satisfaction and reduced returns.
Interested in learning more about how we can help your brand with a tailored assessment?