To produce quality instead of blocking afterwards

How does it work in the quality field? What to focus on as a company? In everyday life, prioritization can become complicated. To act more effectively, it’s good to take back.

A lot of efficiency is lost on the imaginary separation line between the production of products and the quality control afterward. The product release to deliver the customer follows if the production was in conformance. This should be the standard method.

If we doubt the quality or when the product doesn’t meet the specified requirements, there follows a product blocking. All in accordance to the procedure. However, the fact that there is a blocking procedure, doesn’t mean that we need to use it several times a day.

We can make the comparison with the recall procedure. It needs to be present, but it’s fortunately rarely used. It’s better to use the procedure as a security belt or an emergency break.

In most companies, the blocking procedure is overused. The causes are mentioned below:

  • The focus is put on reaching the quantities
  • In calculated quality losses
  • Conception errors of the quality system
  • Insufficient communication of the requirements
  • The gradual deviation from the initial concept
  • Breakdowns, machine settings, insufficient quality of raw materials and packaging

In the case, that the blocking procedure is too much used, it often ends badly. At a certain moment it becomes impossible to deliver the customer. Pression will be exerted on the quality department, which can be overruled to release the products anyway*.

This process repeats itself and so it becomes the new work method. It’s a game of the one who screams the loudest. All kind of measures are implemented to optimize the process, but organisations remain at the same level and continue fighting. Some symptoms:

  • A complex blocking procedure
  • An enormous quantity of blocked lots
  • Friction between different departments – Production, logistics, sales and quality

The cause is that it isn’t clear enough what has to be produced. We deviate from what was initially planned. All sorts of causes are at the origin of this situation. If we want to improve, these have to be analysed et taken away.

The problems leading to the deviations aren’t solved. Better said, the (real) causes aren’t taken away. We can write it without really doing it, as we can show with a simple example of a poorly sealed product.

There is a failing sensor in the packing machine, the reason why the packaging is poorly sealed. Theoretically the cause is removed by repairing the sensor. And you will (still) come away with it, because this method is confirmed by our common sense.

However, we must dive 1 or more levels deeper and carry out much more work, to really remove the cause(s). The problem is only resolved, once that there are no more quality problems caused by failing sensors.

* Attention: Certified or not, this situation will be a deviation during an audit. The customer should have been informed of the non-conformance and should have given his agreement for the delivery.

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