Chris Greenwood – MD, College of Production Technology (CPT)

In this day and age of industrial development, and the introduction of the 4th IR all over the world. We are fast realising that one of the most effective ways of winning the battle against high production costs and low productivity is to make sure that things are done “right-first-time”. To look for defects on finished products and rectify them (if possible) long after they have occurred simply does not make economic sense.

 

Some thirty years ago, Dr Feigenbaum addressed industrialists in the United States in these words:

 

“We have been spending our quality dollars the wrong way: a fortune down the drain because of product failures (internal repairs and external warranties). Another large sum to support a sort-the-bad-from-the-good situation. Comparatively nothing for the true defect prevention technology that can do something about reversing the vicious cycle of higher quality costs and less reliable product quality    

 

Dr Feigenbaum was not the only person to sound this warning. There have been many others. In the 1920’s Dr Walter Shewhart had already introduced the concept of statistical control in manufacturing processes to prevent the occurrence of defects. The work that Joseph Juran and Edward Deming did in Japan is now legend. More recently   Philip Crosby showed how Quality Management could be one of the major economical assets of the I.T.T. Corporation. The list of successes is far too long to receive more than scant attention here.

 

The activity of Inspection is common to most industries and goes back a long way. Management has never seen it as anything other than a necessary evil; which in fact it is. Inspection is a “post-mortem” procedure that can only identify defects after they have occurred. It is, and ever will be, part of a Quality Control system. But it is the negative aspect of Quality Control. There are many other things which can be done to prevent defects in a positive and economical way. This is what the modern concept of Quality Control (or Quality Assurance as it is more fashion­ably known) is all about.

 

Quality Assurance is a company-wide business. As such it becomes a challenge to Management. It has been conclusively shown that more than 80% of so-called “shop floor” problems are “management-controllable” and less than 20% “operator-controllable”. Defects are symptoms more frequently observed on the “shop floor” and during use than anywhere else, but their root cause is a lack of control which normally occurs at a much earlier stage.

 

If management can face this challenge fairly and squarely and employ the abundant technological skills specially developed to cope with this situation, Quality Assurance becomes a vital and very profitable function of the Company. It is certainly not the somewhat questionable “window dressing” exercise which, unfortunately, some managers understand it to be.

At the College of Production Technology (CPT), we offer Quality Assurance training as a Registered Skills Programme or as a Workshop. Please contact CPT on 0860 278 278 or info@cpt.co.za for more information.

 

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