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How a Poor Factory Quality Management System Can Affect Your Factory & What To Do About It

May 30, 2023

 by David Collins III

Man and woman checking laptop in factory

Poor quality management can have serious negative consequences for your factory, leading to increased costs, decreased productivity, and reduced customer satisfaction. In this post, we'll discuss how a poor-quality management system can affect your factory and what you can do to improve it.

First, it's essential to comprehend the concept of a quality management system. While it may seem obvious and unnecessary, a surprising number of factories struggle to distinguish between producing high-quality products and implementing a robust quality management system. It's possible to deliver excellent quality products while having a terrible quality management system.

A factory can effectively prevent substandard products from being shipped out without necessarily eliminating the production of poor-quality items in the first place. Production is not managed through the process but is reworked or scrapped at the end. Quality management is a vital part of the entire process, and quality must be managed from when raw material arrives until the product is packaged and shipped.

You might ask: What does it matter if the quality at the end of production is good? Quality does not happen in isolation from cost and efficiency.


What a Poor Quality Management System Can Lead to

Increased Costs

A poor quality management system can lead to increased costs in several ways. First, defective products or materials can lead to the need for rework or scrapping, which can be expensive. Second, poor quality can lead to lost sales or customer returns, which is also costly. Finally, a lack of proper quality control can lead to product recalls, which can be expensive and damage your company's reputation.


Decreased Productivity

Poor quality can also lead to decreased productivity. When workers have to spend time fixing mistakes or dealing with defective products, they have less time to focus on other tasks. This can lead to delays and bottlenecks in the production process. In addition, poor quality can lead to decreased morale among workers, further reducing productivity.


Reduced Customer Satisfaction

Ultimately, poor quality can lead to reduced customer satisfaction. Customers may choose to take their business elsewhere if products are not of a certain level of quality, and this can lead to lost sales and a damaged reputation.

If any of these seem familiar, there is a problem with your quality management system. Depending on what exactly your factory is struggling with, there are several steps to consider to fix the problem.


Implementing a Quality Management System (QMS)

A QMS is a set of policies, processes, and procedures to ensure that products meet customer requirements and are produced consistently and efficiently. A QMS can help to identify and address quality issues before they become problems.  

There are formal quality management systems such as ISO 9001, Statistical Process Control, Six Sigma, etc. These systems are not isolated from one another as they share many qualities. Some products require specific systems, and those must be adhered to.

These systems, on their own, do not serve as complete solutions. Instead, they are tools to improve overall quality and operations. Implementing ISO 9001 will not automatically solve your problems. It is a good standard, but you must consider how it fits your factory needs. A QMS may require multiple steps to set up, but it must also always be improved as time goes on.


Other Ways to Implement a Quality Management System (QMS)

Train Your Staff

Training is critical to the success of a QMS. All employees should be trained in the policies, processes, and procedures of the QMS. This includes training in quality control techniques, such as statistical process control and root cause analysis.

A key message we give our clients during training is based on the phrase: “Do not accept bad quality and do not pass on bad quality.” This phrase is a reminder that the operator should check quality at every step of the manufacturing process.


Conduct Regular Audits

Regular audits of your quality management system can help identify improvement areas. These audits should be conducted by an independent third party or a manufacturing consultant to ensure the audits are objective.


Use Quality Control Tools

Quality control tools, such as statistical process control and root cause analysis, can help to identify and address quality issues before they become problems. These tools can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of your quality management system. The tools do not have to be complicated. Jigs, diagrams, and measurements can effectively control quality.

Tools need to be maintained and used correctly. Uncalibrated gauges will not be accurate, insufficient data for statistical process control will not yield usable results, and poor documentation will ensure that information is not passed on and mistakes will repeat.


In conclusion, a poor-quality management system can have serious negative consequences for your factory. However, by implementing a quality management system, training your staff, conducting regular audits, and using quality control tools, you can improve your factory's quality and ensure its long-term success.


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Topics: Quality, Process Improvement

David Collins III

David Collins III

David was a Senior Strategy Consultant for Deloitte, served in Iraq as a Special Operations Civil Affairs soldier, and as a Governance Advisor to the Afghan Government with the Department of State. At CMC, David advises clients on strategy and investments.

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