The team quickly evaluated how to reduce the variances by standardizing manufacturing methods, procedures, setups, and processes. Conservatively, the company could see more than $3 million in raw material cost savings based on an analysis of one variable for only 15 of more than 200 products in a single plant. The potential, exponential, enterprise-wide cost savings is staggering.
Manufacturers Reaping Benefits
While many manufacturers are hesitant to embrace revolutionary technologies, some are already reaping the benefits of re-imagining quality.
- Ben & Jerry’s uses quality intelligence to identify instances to improve run capability and raw material usage. Because high-quality ingredients can cost up to $800 for a single barrel, fine tuning processes with more precise specification limits results in less raw material variation, increased cost savings, and a higher quality product for the consumer.
- Michael Foods’ operations and quality executives easily identify variation trends and can use control reports to help determine root causes. Desktop dashboards display exactly what is happening on the plant floor—or across multiple plants—in real time to see whether a particular line or plant is running efficiently and consistently.
- Nestlé Waters has real-time visibility over production processes—both within the individual sites and from the corporate level across 26 factories. By tracking trends in quality data, the company’s quality professionals are able to make more accurate and timely decisions about process improvements.
Instead of perceiving quality issues as factory floor problems, manufacturers must understand that the quality data that identifies these problems is also an untapped source of insight to drive strategic transformation across their entire enterprise. When you shift your thinking about quality from “how can I fix this” to “how can I use this to my advantage,” you are already ahead of your competition. It’s not about what you reacted to yesterday, but instead what you can proactively do tomorrow, or next year to meet the demands of an ever-changing industry. The result can be elevated product quality, improved efficiency, exponential cost savings, and impressed customers with a renewed loyalty to your company.
It is this realization that quality data is a manufacturer’s greatest competitive advantage that will enable you to achieve manufacturing excellence, catapult profitability, and maintain the level of quality that your customers know and expect from the manufacturer of their favorite food.
Lyle is the founder and CEO of InfinityQS International Inc.