Spreading the “pursuit of quality” inside companies
Producing high-quality products looks like the only way to differentiate one’s offer from those of other companies that, more and more, aim to sell low-cost products produced using less resources and low-quality raw materials. But what does “quality” mean? “Quality” identifies all those characteristics that a product or a service has to have and that, at the same time, are able to satisfy customers’ needs. The regulation ISO 9001:2015 marked the passage from “quality control” to “Quality management system”, through which companies commit themselves to follow a series of practices and actions to control and maintain not only the quality of a product, but of the entire production process.
It is made up of six elements:
- Management requirements: expectations and instructions set by management;
- Activity goals: what management wants to obtain from the different activities (cost/time reduction, increase of product/service quality);
- Strategies: how to achieve activity goals following management requirements;
- Methods: techniques and approaches to be implemented (Quality Gate);
- Mechanisms: how the set methods are applied into production;
- Results: metrics to measure the success or unsuccess of a strategy.
The Quality Gate represents a further step that allows the company to apply the “continuous pursuit of quality” philosophy. It helps to quickly identify, discuss and solve the qualitative problems and it involves the joint action of project management, production, assembly and quality departments. A Quality Gate ensures that products satisfy both management’s and customers’ demands, generating waste reduction at the end of the process, by controlling restoration costs and, at the same time, guaranteeing customer expected quality.
A Quality Gate:
- Can be found in a definite place (the Gate);
- It checks defined and objective characteristics that have to be taken in account when controlling a product. They can be:
- Product requirements: quantitative and qualitative characteristics that a product has to have in a definite production point;
- Performance requirements: manufacturing metrics.
- It requires a standard procedure: how quality control is carried out and what should be done when a product doesn’t meet the defined requirements.
- QRQC (Quick response – Quality Control): it provides the resolution of qualitative problems through a structured method made of simple and efficient tools.
Fami created three Quality Gates along the production process, where products are analysed and controlled:
- Production: metal products are checked before painting;
- Painting: painted products are examined to check paint quality and to spot any imperfection;
- Assembly: before assembly, the different components are checked by trained technicians.
The adoption of a Quality management system has allowed to spread the pursuit of quality in every single step of the production of Fami industrial furniture and Store Van van equipment. From planning to assembly and shipment, every department works in synergy to offer clients high-quality and defectless products.