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5 Effective Solutions
to Improve Quality

Setting up a sound quality system

Setting up a sound quality system
Many small and midsize manufacturers in China don’t have a quality system! It is imperative to put one in place. A good system includes, among others:
  • Reviewing designs and validating that they are fit for production;
  • Ensuring that standard work instructions are relevant and are followed by workers;
  • Identifying and segregating non-conforming components and products;
  • Implementing preventive and corrective actions

Other factories have a system in place, but don’t respect it fully. The problem might be:

  • The inadequacy of that system – it needs some adaptation or simplification.
  • A lack of discipline from the staff – see next point.

Coaching managers to maintain staff discipline

Coaching managers to maintain staff discipline
Managers need to get out of their office and walk the production floor, ideally every day. Coupled with visual management tools (performance boards filled out at every shift, for example), it allows them to have an idea of what is going on. It is an occasion to reinforce the importance of discipline and to put pressure on supervisors and team leaders when necessary. Among others, the following rules must be followed by everybody:
  • We do not accept bad work
  • We do not do bad work
  • We do not pass on bad work

Formalizing “standard work” and training the staff

Formalizing “standard work” and training the staff

For each task, a simple and visual guide should be available to the staff. It should show the current best way to perform that task and should emphasize critical points (for quality and safety).

Read this post for 12 employee engagement ideas which work in China.

Mistake proofing processes against human errors

Mistake proofing processes against human errors
Humans make mistakes … But the most frequent human mistakes can be identified and addressed with three mistake proofing processes:
  • Prevented right where they appeared. Example: a part that can only be inserted one way into a fixture.
  • Detected right when they appear. Example: a sensor detects that only 2 out of 3 holes were drilled, and shows a red blinking light.
  • Detected after they appear. Example: the next operator inspecting each part.

Analyzing processes for other types of problems

Analyzing processes for other types of problems
When mistake proofing is not enough or not possible, we favor two other types of approaches.
  • Root cause analysis, followed by corrective actions and followup. It is important to trigger this action as early as possible. See 4 quality improvement tools that we use to that effect.

  • DOE (design of experiments), when many variables may impact the final result and the cause of the problems is not clear.

What our Clients

  • Our Suzhou factory was unable to ramp up production to fulfill our sales. This caused a lot of missed deadlines on critical shipments, not to mention lost sales. CMC consultants used LEAN tools and immediately identified bottlenecks. They quickly elevated the factory's production capacity, and then worked on stabilizing processes and increasing efficiencies. They have done a great job, and we are now working with them on our 2nd and 3rd most critical factories in China.


    Operations Director

  • Our management team was not displaying the energy my partners and I expected of them. By working with them on a few meaningful metrics for each department, and teaching us how to hold "daily accountability meetings" CMC created noticeable change in our factory. Now our managers spend hours each day on improvement projects, rather than their daily routine operations.


    Site Director

  • Our planning process started showing its limits when volume increased suddenly last year. We were not sure what to do. Did we need a more powerful ERP? Did we need a totally different approach? We were lucky to find CMC, who sent us a planning & purchasing specialist and immediately made very relevant recommendations. After one month the planning process and the communication among departments was already a lot smoother.


    Factory General Manager

  • First, CMC was able to convince the owner of our main supplier in China to engage in an improvement program. Then, CMC consultants worked swiftly to implement improvements on a test production line. This created even further buy-in from the factory's ownership, who could see that CMC's approach yielded better quality and lower costs, and and allowed CMC to duplicate it throughout the factory. The resulting stronger and more reliable supplier has been invaluable for our business.
    VP Global Sourcing
  • After repeated quality issues we suggested one of our smaller manufacturers work with CMC in China. After the addition of just a few key jigs, and some additional training, they were able to turn the entire factory situation around. We were surprised at how quickly the results were visible.
    Head of Operations
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