CONTROL OF QUALITY AT VARIOUS STAGES
On the basis of the study of quality control function, we can say that to control the quality of a product, the quality is required to be controlled at various stages of production. Normally they can be, .
1. At a design stage.
2. At a purchasing stage.
3. At the production stage.
4. After a product is sold (Product-Support Services)
Control at Design stage
Design department determines the design / specifications for raw materials, components, parts, tools, equipment, processes or methods of production. The information regarding quality and quantity of products required by the customer to satisfy their needs is provided by the market research, which is being transformed into the product specifications. Product design should be based on customerâ€™s needs. An error at this stage affects the quality of the product adversely and the cost of the production may rise due to the defective material.
Design standards, design drawings, design specifications etc prepared by the committee of the various head can serve the purpose in a better way. The quality control people have to see that standards, specification, and drawings are being properly enforced and up dated. The change in Designs, specifications should be done according to the changes in taste and needs of the customers and also technological developments. Sales people may provide information.
Control at purchasing stage:
The responsibility for the procurement of materials, components, parts, tools, equipment etc of standard specifications, in a required quantity at a reasonable price rests with the purchase department. Efficient procurement gives better results. Quality of the product depends upon the efficiency shown in procurement. It does not mean that material should be of best quality because the best quality will cost more and a customer prefers that product, out of so many available, which he considers best for the money he is willing to spend. Some times the suppliers does not supply the raw material as per the specification. The suppliers selected should be after proper evaluation and after reliability. The suppliers who have supplied the material in the past with good quality material should be given first preference. The quality control system or equipment of the suppliers should also be checked to determine their ability to supply quality materials regularly in required quantity.
All the material procured should have a predetermined standard as stated in the Purchase order. Only inspection of the supplies is not enough, because the material may get damaged during the transportation and sometimes substandard material , parts may form the part of total receipt. Substandard products should not be accepted even though the prices are reduced to a great extent. It damages the goodwill of a manufacturer. The suppliers who do not care for quality and continue to supply materials of inferior quality, even after drawing their attention very often, must be deregistered from the reliable suppliersâ€™ list. Purchase department can assure the quality if they work carefully.
To assure and maintain quality periodic checking should be carried out. If a separate stores department exists in a company, the storage and responsibility of storage and issues of materials rests with it. If the storage is not done properly than the quality of the material deteriorates in turn the quality of final product is affected. Store departments should handle the material with care to minimize the wastage.
Quality control people should see that strict control is exercised at the purchasing stage and storage facilities are proper.
Control at production stage (during the production process):
Production department is responsible for production of quality products as per specification determined by the design department. In the production department, materials are converted into finished products, which must be fit for the intended use. The quality of a product is affected by the manufacturing processes, tools and equipment and also testing and measuring instruments and methods used. The manufacturing processes or methods must be faultless and carefully designed. The equipment for production and instruments for testing should be properly and carefully checked periodically to assure the quality of the final product. Measuring and testing instruments of standard and well known manufacturers should only be used to maintain great accuracy. Instrument with precision, accuracy and sensitivity should be used.
The product should be tested at different levels during the production cycle to ensure better quality at low cost. It should be inspected every time when it leaves one operation or one major process so as to locate the defect. The first unit coming out should be checked before the continuation of the product. The information regarding manufacturing equipment, tools etc measuring and testing instruments and the final product should be collected, analyzed properly and findings should be provided to quality control people within a reasonable time, so that a manufacturer can take actions at the earliest, if found necessary. Timely information proves to be very useful in quality control.
Control at delivery and after-sales-service stage
Careful handling, proper storage and systematic packing save the product from rain, sunlight etc and maintain quality of products. If a product leaves the factory in a good condition can get spoiled due to careless handling or improper storage. . If the customers on receipt of the products, find them damaged due to poor packing or some other reasons they get dissatisfied with the company.
The latest trend is in addition to in house quality control systems progressive companies are going one step ahead to employ techno-commercial professionals for procurement purposes, In addition to purchasing their task is also to guide the vendors to follow proper or right processes so that there are no rejections in their supplies. This pre empts any delays for want of outsourced materials.
The quality control at various stages are incorporated to suit a particular company needs and it is not uniform or same for all.