The Quality Gap

In Juran’s Quality Handbook, John Early and O. John Coletti describe the “quality gap” as the difference between customers’ expectations for a product or service and their perception of what they actually received. This overall gap is the sum of many smaller gaps as shown in the diagram.

eclipse-Quality_Gap_Diagram

A key benefit of applying computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) in operations is the near elimination of the process and operations gaps. Take for example a company like Amazon. Orders are entered (and hopefully verified) by the customer through Amazon’s website. Although they are not a manufacturing company per se, their fulfillment process is fully integrated and extremely accurate and efficient. While many of their processes are completely automated, those that require human intervention have quality control checks (via barcodes) to ensure correct shipments.

In the case of roll forming, once orders are in the computer system, elements of CIM should eliminate mistakes (or quality gaps) at each step. Downloading and coil validation are two examples of this. A properly-implemented system should produce parts with the correct profile, material, color, length, punch pattern, marking, packaging and delivered to the correct location at the right time.

Although CIM systems such as Eclipse can address the most common quality gaps, there are still a few areas that require special attention on the part of the manufacturer:

  • Orders should be carefully checked after they are entered into the system. Ideally, the customer should have a chance to verify the order data.
  • When coils are received, it is important that they be correctly labeled. Once the coil has the right label, the CIM system will prevent it from being used on the wrong orders.
  • When bundles are loaded onto the truck, care should be taken to ensure only the correct bundles are loaded (nothing missing and no extras). Many companies will scan the bundle labels to check against the expected manifest.

With a reduced market, the level of competition between manufacturers becomes much more intense. Having good quality by itself does not provide a sustainable competitive advantage (since nothing stops your competitors from doing the same). Not having a high level of quality is a sure way to be at a disadvantage and a tight market may not give second chances. Give AMS Controls a call to see how our CIM solution, Eclipse, can eliminate your quality gaps.