In Part 1, we looked at how ‘quality’ is one of the biggest issues in food manufacturing, and is the lowest common denominator in the inter-dependent concepts of ‘lean manufacturing’, ‘six sigma’, ‘kaizen’ and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). This time I’m going to look at how to actually meet the ‘quality’ expectations of retailers and end consumers.
Quality control (QC), which is the traditional approach to quality, is mainly about “detecting” defective output as opposed to preventing it. Quality assurance (QA), a more proactive approach, is about designing production and packaging processes that minimise the chance your output will be substandard.
In pursuit of being lean, QA is the more effective way to go.
iDSnet is our award-winning software solution. We developed it locally and support it locally. It integrates all your coding and labelling solutions, as well as peripheral devices such as weighers.
iDSnet is all about QA.
It accesses a central database in your facility for all product information, has pre-set formats and templates to ensure the right information (such as use-by date, bar code, batch number) goes on the right product at the right time (including the location of the pallet label on the pallet). It also communicates with peripheral devices like machine vision systems and bar code scanners for QC.
You can also integrate iDSnet with enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions such as SAP and warehouse management systems (WMS), as well as manufacturing execution systems (MES) to improve real-time track and trace.
Establishing robust QA and QC processes has far-reaching implications for manufacturers, and can prevent situations such as this one when a manufacturer shipped cans of tomato sauce with the wrong labels and then had to recall the entire shipment — at their own expense — from the retailer. On top of all that, they had to pay fines, were given a warning and then put on a “watch” list!
Any future errors could cost them their supply agreement with this retailer, but this situation could have so easily been avoided if that manufacturer had robust quality processes to start with.