With the transition of product-oriented to more market-oriented (aka customer-oriented) business management, quality processes have also undergone many changes from the initial after-the-fact measurement to using more advanced prevention techniques. The primary focus, role, and overall relationship of total quality management, manufacturing, quality management, and technology departments in quality processes have also undergone dramatic changes.
For non-OEM production companies, it can be said that sample production is the beginning of quality management. It is well known that customers will request samples before placing an order. Only after the sample has passed will the order be placed, so the production of the sample is crucial.
The production department must take into account all aspects of quality, cost, delivery, and safety. These can include the following areas :
- Production operations are conducted in strict accordance with the operation instructions. Suppliers should carry out education on the standards of work while improving the technical level of the operators, production efficiency and the quality of processing.
- All teams should cooperate with the quality inspection department to ensure the first product inspection and the first part of the process in order to ensure production under normal conditions.
- Suppliers TQM function should perform process control. Process control is the basic function of production quality. Process inspection is arranged according to the process requirements. It is judged whether the process quality meets the specified standards through various methods as well as understanding which fluctuation of quality data is reasonable to consider the process in a stable state. Collaboration with relevant departments to analyze the causes of non-conforming products is key to taking corrective and preventive measures so as to prevent the occurrence (or recurrence) of non-conforming products. The key behaviors cultivate the self-checking habits of employees so that “non-conforming products do not flow into the next process”.
- Teams need to do a good job in the management of work in progress to prevent unintended use and delivery of a nonconforming product.
- Documentation is crucial, so the teams must create relevant records to prepare for the complete traceability.
If the operator lacks the necessary training or the operator's standards for product requirements and inspections are unclear, the data delivered may be of questionable veracity. In this case, it is impossible to determine whether the process is stable or not.
In the electronics world, we focus on the following aspects to ensure overall quality :
- The first part of the process is confirmed with inspection of relevant components and the first products from a run. The confirmation of the first part of the process means that the semi-finished product that has been processed first is confirmed by the quality inspector according to the guidelines at the start of each process.
- Circuit inspection happens at the manufacturing site to detect problems in time to prevent the occurrence of nonconforming products entering into the supply chain.
- The final inspection is performed afterward, but it is essential in that the finished product can only be shipped after passing the final inspection. The final inspection is generally carried out by sampling unless the end-customer has a process in place for complete testing and inspection.
- Inspection records and other records related to quality conditions are filed at each step of the process. Inspection records and other quality-related records are evidence of conformity of the product and should be properly documented and properly maintained as required.
- Reliability management is also important for the long term viability of a product and mainly refers to experiments that test the service life of products under simulated environmental and usage conditions. This can include rocking experiments and lifting experiments as examples.
- Any abnormal quality conditions are tracked while the corrective and preventive measures are put in place. Measurements of the effect of process changes are also kept to ensure improvement.
Quality abnormality treatment that occurs in the manufacturing process should be managed as a joint operation of all departments since the occurrence of the problem is generally not isolated to a single step in a process. Since issues may arise due to incomplete processing faulty work instruction/defective processes, it has to be a team effort. The quality inspection department is duty-bound to not allow the non-conforming products to flow to the customer. Therefore, only the close cooperation of various departments can identify the real cause of any problems and eliminate all of the factors affecting the quality of the product. The final result should always be improving the quality of the product, and ultimately achieving customer satisfaction.