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Introduction and challenges

Quality is fundamental to the success of any manufacturing organisation. From design for quality and manufacture, through the upstream supply chain, the production process, the distribution network, to the customer experience – optimising quality performance is a primary driver for achieving profitability, meeting output targets and exceeding customer requirements and expectations. To compete and succeed in today’s market, manufacturers must be able to make products to the required quality standard, to the required cost, on time, every time.

The cost and impact of poor quality performance extends beyond just the manufacturing process – rework and scrap performance are typically subject to much focus, but other consequential impacts are not – delayed deliveries, customer dissatisfaction, warranty and returns, and market reputation can all have a much more significant impact on an organisation’s success. Few organisations take a holistic approach to managing quality, and few organisations understand and measure the Total Cost of Quality proficiently. Consequently, improvement activity can often be focused inappropriately and results in limited impact. Understanding the Total Cost of Quality is an essential first step towards addressing the key challenges that drive sub-optimal performance.

How we can help

At Argon & Co, we work with our clients to identify the Total Cost of Quality and develop and then deploy transformational strategies, plans and activities to optimise quality performance. We help shift our clients focus from detection to prevention and optimisation. We help create a quality mindset that extends across the organisation beyond just the manufacturing function:

  • Identifying a clients’ CTQ’s (critical to quality) factors, and map existing quality activities at every step (from product design, to shipping and invoicing)
  • Identifying and challenging the current allocations of all visible and hidden quality costs, starting with current control plans
  • Identifying strategies with a cross-functional team, to shift detection and rework into prevention and design work
  • Bringing more focus and measures up-front, including in administrative steps like documentation and regulatory
  • Implementing feedback loops to nurture new product or service developments, and leveraging experience acquired from previous cycles
  • Ensuring leadership involvement for Total Quality programmes, reaching every function and every individual, aligned to a common goal

Typical results include:

  • Reduced scrap, re-work and inspection at all steps of development, manufacturing and distribution
  • Reduced time to market by taking into account key customer characteristics and front-loading project and development teams
  • Increased customer satisfaction, measured both directly and indirectly