I recently co-hosted a webinar with Kevin Prouty, Senior Vice President of Research at Aberdeen Group. Our presentation was on the topic of Quality, and what best-in-class manufacturers are now doing to better manage quality for a lower total cost. This post captures some of the findings we presented in that webcast, for a somewhat different perspective on what we learned.
To start, I should define what I mean by “Best-in-class.” These manufacturers are those performing at the top 20 percent of their peers, based on attributes that makes the most sense from a Quality perspective. In this case, the factors Aberdeen Group chose were the ability to successfully launch new products (i.e. getting it right the first time, to all markets), the profitability of the business, OEE and the percentage of shipments that were sent out on time, complete. Here is a summary that compares how the best-in-class performed against the “Laggards,” or those performing at the bottom 30 percent of their peers:
The above metrics are significant. I would suspect that improving your OEE by 29% might just be enough to justify an entire Enterprise Quality Management Solution all on its own! So, now I have your attention … the next most important take-away is to understand where to focus your energies so as to work towards becoming a best-in-class manufacturer.
The Right Data, at the Right Time
The bottom line is that this is the most critical capability of improving your overall Quality performance across operations. We have all heard about Big Data – many are implementing expanded manufacturing intelligence programs to best capture a wide scope of operations intelligence, which can then be used for continuous improvement. They key, however, is not simply collecting data and storing it. It is all about collecting the right data, and making it available to the right folks, at the right time. This combination is very powerful. If done right, it can have a profound impact on how your operations perform, and can put you on a path to becoming best-in-class. See the below chart for a graphical depiction of how the leaders accomplish this task:
Source: Aberdeen Group research – The advantages of collecting the right data at the right time
Once you are committed to improving your ability to identify and make available the right data at the right time, it becomes clear what must be done next – remove disparate systems to eliminate data “silos” where data resides all by itself, on its own island, so to speak. Building this type of efficiency into your system will do amazing things to the performance on how quickly you can access data. And, with that improved performance will follow clarity and visibility into what processes might need to be updated to improve quality.
Information that can help you to improve your quality performance might be located within your warehouse management, production, maintenance, receiving or shipping systems. Collecting all of this information and overlaying the quality of your output can reveal some very interesting trends – creating intelligence for you to act upon and improve quality. And visualization of this data is key, since you have many various roles involved in the improvement process – Quality Engineers are passionate about Excel spreadsheet, while Quality Managers would focus on a one-page visually appealing chart.
If you are interested in learning more, you can watch a replay of the webinar here.
If you have any questions, I welcome your feedback as a comment below!