Efficient processes are free from ‘waste’ activities that fail to add value to the customer. After all, if something doesn’t benefit the end recipient, they’re not likely to want to pay for it. Companies need to be careful when streamlining though, as customers are also not prepared to pay for a sub-standard product.

Tracking product quality
The average product is now linked to a wide range of quality related criteria, from legal requirements to niche demands for a specific region or customer. Although the food and pharmaceutical industries are well known for the complexity and number of their regulations and legal requirements, premium products from other industries increasingly involve greater regulatory complexity. Producers of high end textile fibres, for example, now have to perform quality checks at almost every stage in the production process. Managing compliance has become a major aspect of running a successful manufacturing business.

Positive re-enforcement
The challenge is thus to develop the most efficient possible processes while ensuring quality is maintained at the right level. It remains one of the key differentiators for customers, guaranteeing quality consistency a key driver for repeat business. The good news is that both aspects can strengthen each other. Ensuring quality is managed properly can be an excellent way to uncover inefficiency and waste in processes, stimulate improvements and drive business advantage.

Quality manage your partners as well
In addition to managing your own processes, it’s important to closely monitor your entire ecosystem. Thorough analysis of a new assortment before entering mainstream production, for example, can ensure a lot of potential time and resource wastage is avoided. Regularly appraising the quality of purchased goods delivered by your suppliers can help ensure you’re working with the right partners and have the strongest supply chain possible.

Automating quality control
Effective quality control now involves the registry of large volumes of data. Unfortunately, and despite the technological possibilities on offer, many companies still tend to generate significant volumes of paperwork. Employees often fill out dozens of forms, most of which normally end up on a desk somewhere waiting to be processed. And that’s if they didn’t get lost en route.

Automating these processes prevents a lot of time-consuming hassle and helps significantly reduce errors and mistakes. Rather than having to complete hard copy documentation, employees can enter test results on the spot via a mobile device. This can then be centrally processed on the fly, ensuring the central data offers a real-time view of the situation. It’s harder to make mistakes induced by forgetting or misplacing information, and it eliminates the delay between data entry and processing.

In short, the whole organization can work with the same data, and be confident that it’s correct and up to date. Real time processing of test results leads to real time reporting on quality issues. As such, any issues can be identified an acted upon immediately. Data integrity is ensured, with employees restricted to enter a certain range of data. And storing quality data in your central system offers other functional benefits as well. You could, for example, generate test result certificates and print them together with your customers’ delivery notes. Or to easily track back to the test data of a certain product batch. With these processes supported by automation, you’ll benefit from increased responsiveness, more effective reporting and improved customer service.