Don’t Forget to QC Your Logistics
Effective quality control stretches from manufacturers all the way to the consumer.
Historical data and experts claim that quality impacts 30-70 percent of the final cost of the product. This includes things such as:
- Rejected parts that need to be replaced, returned or fixed
- Delays impacting the production schedule
- Customer dissatisfaction after a product is delivered
While manufacturing quality goods is often the first thought when it comes to quality control, breaks in quality at other points in the supply chain cause issues as well.
When quality breaks down in other areas, it impacts the on-time delivery or other costs which may be visible and some which may be hidden: Poorly produced goods will be returned, leading to issues with logistics, inventory management, resolution management, customer dissatisfaction, poor customer reviews, negative social media and potentially scaring away new customers.
Investing in the quality of both products and standard operating procedures (SOPs) brings greater value to the entire supply chain.
How Manufacturers Can Improve Quality
In manufacturing, a quality control program does more than provide peace of mind—it significantly minimizes costs or errors in products. It starts by setting standards to share with everyone, from domestic engineers to overseas production managers.
Begin by formalizing the program so the expectations are clear to everyone involved.
Ingredients to include in your quality control program:
- Specs and standards.
- Customer requirements
- Inspection guidelines
Once your quality standards for these aspects of the production process are developed, write them down in a quality planning document.
This document is the central source of information used to communicate with your team, limiting and potentially eliminating miscommunication and finger-pointing.
Even with the best program design, though, you may encounter challenges with cultural differences. Before you can emphasize a quality control program in overseas factories, you need to invest in the culture and learn more about the communication styles of your contacts. Without this understanding and background, it will be difficult to overcome hidden and/or surprising barriers that may hinder you from a successful quality control program.
The Role of Logistics in Quality Control
Quality control plans often leave out the subject of logistics which is an enormous mistake! Many organizations use quality scorecards to rate their suppliers on specific metrics, and one key metric they track is product delivery timeliness.
When logistics focus on quality in the same way that manufacturing does, it can result in:
- Increased speed to market
- Enhanced visibility
- Controlled costs
- Strengthened relationship with customers.
Quality control plans for logistics might include:
- Reworking or writing SOP and reviewing with factory partners
- Reworking or writing SOP and reviewing with customs broker(s) / agent(s)
- Using the latest tech
- Shipping company consolidation vs diversification
- Factory purchase order financing requirements
- And more!
Great planning and communication are the first step toward continuous improvement, increased efficiency and reliability.
Whether you are a company overseeing an entire supply chain or one piece of the puzzle, an investment in a quality control plan including logistics will generate long-term benefits.