7 Strategies For Making Manufacturing Quality A Competitive Advantage
Manufacturing quality is the fuel powering the customer experience revolution globally today.
The quickening cadence customers evaluate and buy products across any channel they prefer is revolutionizing manufacturing. Customers traverse online and offline channels looking for products that solve specific problems and meet unique needs.
The majority of B2B and B2C buyers spend over 80% of their time on mobile devices shopping and often use a tablet, laptop or their smartphone to place the order.
Listening To Your Customers Is Critical
From Amazon reviews to Consumer Reports, B2B and B2C buyers rely on what other customers are saying about product quality before buying.
Manufacturers need to be listening to the voice of the customer getting amplified in product reviews daily. There need to be escalation paths to address problems fast and learn from quality successes.
Millions of customers take to social media daily and openly share if a product met their expectations or not. Quality is the most powerful differentiator any manufacturer has.
Making Product Quality A Catalyst Of Sales Growth
With every manufacturer’s reputation at stake based on product quality, turning this area of manufacturing operations into a competitive advantage needs to happen now.
These are 7 quick strategies for making quality a competitive advantage:
1. Reducing order cycle times and rework by automating pricing, quoting, and customer approvals with a single integrated system.
Product quality problems often begin when an incorrect or incomplete order is placed. Errors in pricing, quoting, product configuration or delivery instructions all introduce errors, slow down orders, and drive down product quality.
Automating pricing, quoting and customer approval workflows can help to increase order cycle times and improve quality.
2. Tracking product quality levels in real-time and setting individual and team goals to improve them works when every employee sees how what they are doing matters.
Walking the plant floors of some of the world’s most quality-obsessed automotive manufacturers, it’s clear why they excel at quality.
At one automotive manufacturer known for their trucks and specialty vehicles, production team progress to quality goals is provided in real-time on flatscreen monitors around the plant.
Each of the monitors reports updates on each teams’ level of product quality performance. Teams compete on quality and work to improve their standings daily.
3. New product designs are given a rigorous product quality and engineering readiness reviews before being released to production.
Instead of rushing new products into an initial manufacturing run, manufacturers who excel at product quality are willing to sacrifice a few weeks to get the product right.
Readiness reviews and the highest priority problems or bugs are fixed and the schedule gets shifted to support higher quality.
It’s common to see these manufacturers delay a launch for 30 days or longer to ensure the new product meets their high-quality standards before being shipped to customers.
4. Using real-time quality data to bring urgency to the need to improve.
Manufacturers struggling to improve product quality often lack the data they need to troubleshoot more complex production problems.
By having real-time data, these manufacturers can turn product quality around by seeing what needs to be improved in the production process.
It’s clear that the better, more real-time the data, the greater the urgency and intensity focused in achieving their product quality goals.
Real-time data has the potential to revolutionize product quality, providing manufacturers with insights into how they can improve and excel for customers.
5. Getting into a regular cadence of Quality Audits to find areas for improvement.
The goal of having regular Quality Audits is to discover new areas not considered before for sourcing, supplier, production and service quality improvements.
Combining real-time data with Quality Audits also provides insights that aren’t apparent from baseline metrics or quality key performance indicators.
Many manufacturers are combining real-time data with Six Sigma-based methodologies for Quality Audits, gaining real-time insights into how their manufacturing performance measures up versus customer’s expectations.
6. Relying on real-time data to measure and reduce the total Cost of Quality and improve customer satisfaction.
Making decisions faster on redesigning or eliminating the least profitable production processes helps to keep manufacturing costs down and product quality up.
Using real-time data to measure Cost of Quality it’s possible to reduce high production costs driven by rework, returns, unscheduled machine times and incorrect orders.
Reducing Cost of Quality leads to high-quality products that meet and exceed customer expectations.
7. Product quality escalations lead to quick action and permanent changes to work instructions and production workflows.
The senior executive who is the product quality champion often defines quality escalation workflows and takes action on getting quality problems resolved fast.
This is one of the most differentiating aspects of manufacturers with excellent products, and it’s evident in how seriously senior management takes their commitment to quality.
Having a senior executive with authority to get improvements quickly done saves weeks of meetings and makes a direct impact on product quality.
Realizing quality is the cornerstone of competitive strength and manufacturing quality the fuel, manufacturers have what they need to excel and scale at delivering excellent customer experiences and profitably grow.
More valuable than a marketing campaign, more powerful at closing deals than pricing, great product quality wins customers and is priceless.
Staying committed to delivering excellent product quality needs to start from the top, with leaders energizing everyone with challenging goals that have room for everyone to see their contributions.
Making quality a competitive advantage requires an intensity and urgency to keep excelling that senior management needs to fuel with real-time feedback and a commitment to continuous improvement.