Introduction to quality Part 3

How is quality achieved? ( Top down approach)

A lot people thought that quality is achieved thru inspection and this is not true at all.   As stated earlier  in “who owns quality” section,  quality can only be attained through design of the product with the customer in mind and manufacturing product with all correct control of process input  such as operator, equipment, method and material which impact  product quality .  An example of correct control of process would be if a machine is needed to cut a product to specific size,  then machine parameter such as type of cutting knife and cutting distance  and pressure must  be set to get all parts being cut clean (no burrs) and to customer specific size.  The cutting process must done by properly trained operator with step by step documented work instruction for the operator to follow.  Then it will follow with proper testing and inspection to check the product quality.

There are 3 types of approach to accomplish a quality product :-

Method  adopted
Best -1
Quality is attain through design, planning and build into the product.
Good -2
Some deficiencies in design and manufacturing of product,  there are quality improvement to address the deficiencies through corrective and preventive action
Average - 3
Ignorant of the design and plan quality into product, lack of quality improvement activities only continue to inspect and test to screen product meet  customer requirement and defective parts

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Quality is achieved by design and building quality into the product and NOT thru inspection.  Inspection is conducted on finished or semi finished product to screen out defect and compliance part.  It is too late for any real action to correct  the process or design of a finished product . 

Most of the company thought that inspection is the only way to achieve quality product which will fullfill customers' requirements.    No doubt inspection is the fastest way to deliver product which comply to the customers' requirements,  however it is the most expensive way, as you might need to reject more that 50% of  the product  to screen out parts which do not comply to specification or customer requirement .  The non compliance part need to be reworked  or worst scrapped which involve cost.  Hence inspection to get ‘quality”  part should NOT be a long term solution.    Figure 3 below show the differences between good design and well controlled process with poor design and badly controlled process  which stress on the point quality is design and build in.

From figure 3a above, you will notice  an organization with less than 50% compliance product (< 50% yield rate) have go to thru the reworked or scrapped cycle 50 times more than an organization with yield rate 99% good parts in figure 3b. 

Most companys' top management failed to recognize this fact or some company who have some knowledge,  however failed to drive their design and engineering team to work towards good quality product and manufacturing process  design thus have to bear the cost of poor quality. 
Top 4 reasons why most company are unable to build quality into product could be
Top management does have any knowledge on quality engineering and only thought quality is achieved through inspection
Top management does not want to invest in good quality engineering infrastructure which include qualified  or certified quality engineer/manager 

Top management  does not realize that everybody including they themselves are the one who contributed to quality of the product and put the blame of poor quality on quality department

Top management has a “just do it” attitude with no patience for proper planning,  not  recognizing that they would have to put in more time and money in inspecting quality and suffer from poor product and process design.

You will notice that I have faulted the top management,  as Dr. Edward Deming (1900-1993), a famous quality guru of past century had stated that management actually contribute almost 85% of quality problem.  Top management is the major culprit of poor quality.

Therefore quality can only be achieved by having an educated top management team in quality engineering and then proliferate it down to the whole organization on the importance everyone in organization play a role from quality product creation to finished goods.

Different aspect of Quality management and quality engineering

There are many components  within quality management and engineering function starting from the most basic  quality control to higher level quality engineering and management.   I shall go thru each of them briefly for  the benefit  of  reader who had just being introduced to quality engineering

Quality control 
Process output  (finished product)
the most basic quality management function which focus on  finished product inspection according to customer requirement

Quality assurance
Process input  (process steps)
Ensure the all procedure or process steps need to make a product to ensure all process step meets preset specification to produce good parts for customer assurance

Quality management system
Planning,  design Process input , output and improve
Management system is a set policies or guideline which company follows to ensure their product  or services  consistently meet customer quality requirement.   The most universal quality management system used is  ISO 9001.  There are four components in quality management systems quality planning, quality control and quality assurance and quality improvement

Quality Planning
Establish document plan
Developing  plan which the organization has to adopt in order to achieve a product which full fill customer requirement with fitness for use

Quality improvement

A program which use systematic methodology  well known models such as Advance product quality planning (APQP) six sigma, 7 QC tools, PDCA model with the purpose of achieving quality improvement objectively.
(you can google those terms as there are many website which give detail explanation & I shall cover in my future blog)

Quality engineering
All  aspect of plan, manage, execute, monitor quality 
Quality engineering would encompasses (according to American Society of Quality :
·        Quality management and leadership – philosophies, management system,  leadership principles, communication, customer relations and supplier management
·        Quality system – quality standards and audit, cost of quality, quality training
·        Product and process design-  product drawing, life cycle reliability
·        Product and process control - material control, measurement system analysis
·        Continuous improvement using statistical tools six sigma

I have reached the last part of "introduction to quality" section of this blog.  I hope that my readers would have a better understanding on product quality definition, ownership of quality, quality in every steps of product creation and various function of quality.  In the future I shall share details on quality methodologies related to six sigma, case studies,  statistical techniques in quality engineering and of course my expertise in supplier quality management.

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