Content By Ryan E. Day

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By: Ryan E. Day

If you are a quality engineer or maybe even the quality manager of a manufacturing company, investing in quality improvements may be a no-brainer. Defects are inherently undesirable, right? Well, yes, but at the level of plant manager, president, or CEO, decisions about where to allocate assets usually require a more complex calculation. Company oversight must take an enterprisewide view of the ROI of quality investments.

One thing every level of management must know to make profitable decisions is what the cost of defects actually is. The true cost of a defect is one of the variables used when quantifying the ROI of investing in any quality improvement initiative or technology. But what is the real cost of defective product that rolls out of your facility? Coming up with an accurate assessment can be tricky. In this interview, Prasad Akella, CEO and founder of Drishti, offers some valuable insight.

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By: Ryan E. Day

Few phrases have more power to stir excited conversation than “American-made quality.” It’s been touted and trashed. It’s been a major cause for concern with offshoring and reshoring. Global conglomerate and startup incubator ROKiT Group has come down squarely in the camp that believes American-made can mean high-quality products, and they aim to prove it by manufacturing ebikes in Las Vegas under the name ROKiT MADE.

Dean Becker, co-founder, CEO, and chairman of ROKiT MADE shares his thoughts on starting a ground-up manufacturing venture in the United States.

Quality Digest: Is this is going to be a ground-up manufacturing plant? If so, you can do anything you want to. Is ROKiT MADE integrating QA into the design of the plant and its manufacturing processes?

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By: Ryan E. Day

Metrology may sound like an esoteric dark art, but it isn’t. If you’re involved in manufacturing of any stripe, you’re almost certainly a metrology practitioner. Coordinate metrology, on the other hand, is a more narrow subset of the field but still widely used in many industries for various applications. The CMSC 2020 September Speaker Series (SSS) gave us a fascinating look at how coordinate metrology is being used by industries today.

The SSS—now available on demand upon joining the Coordinate Metrology Society (CMS)—presents a cross-section of coordinate and 3D metrology applications in the form of technical demonstrations by some of industry’s most advanced manufacturing organizations.

The series

Although due to Covid-19 restrictions, this year’s presentations were not in person, they were recorded with the expert’s own custom slides to give visual gravity to the exclusive content on the subject matter.

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By: Ryan E. Day

In our ultra-connected world, user experience (UX) can be a life-or-death matter for consumer-facing businesses. User experience is so critical that savvy leaders integrate UX/UI (user interface) design with product development and even consider UX when shaping business strategy. Madeline Fraser, founder and CEO of Gemist, is one such leader.

“I came up with the idea for Gemist when I tried to design myself a custom ring,” explains Fraser. “That experience showed me that the custom jewelry process is manual, antiquated, and in need of a big refresh. Gemist was born from my desire to let the consumer drive a process that should be custom, personal, and won’t break the bank.”

In fact, the entire team at Gemist is involved with this UX-integrated-with-business-model approach, including Katherine DePaolo, product designer for Gemist. DePaulo was kind enough to answer some questions regarding how Gemist uses UX as a differentiator in the field of bespoke jewelry.

Ryan E. Day
By: Ryan E. Day, Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest, Taran March @ Quality Digest

In order to best illustrate how enterprisewide SPC software can help address shop-floor problems and then funnel the captured data to the corporate level where strategic issues can be analyzed, here is a case study of a hypothetical manufacturing facility. In it, the company makes effective use of SPC for data-driven decisions.

A global food products manufacturing company with 11 sites worldwide had chosen to master quality, both tactically and strategically, as its top goal. Each site collected and analysed data in the company’s enterprisewide SPC software, both to monitor and respond to quality issues at the site, and to share those same data with the corporate office.

At the company’s Prague site, the quality manager looked at her shop-floor data for the previous month. As figure 1 indicates, the software reported a total of 737 events, which at first glance seemed like a big deal to the manager. However, on closer inspection, she could see that these weren’t massive quality issues with the product or processes. However, there were 517 missed data checks. Although not a line-stopping issue, missed checks could result in noncompliance to agreements with customers or industry requirements.

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By: Ryan E. Day

Those of you involved in matters of business strategy know: Strategy matters. Your strategies guide you to reach your objectives. Behind every successful business are purposeful strategies. Then again, as Alvin Toffler said, “The absence of strategy is fine if you don’t care where you’re going.”

We’re talking specifically about data-driven strategies like using “improving operational efficiency” to support a goal of increasing your profit margin. Or “improving product standardization” to increase international market share. The question is, how do you support your data-driven strategies? Where do your data come from?

Many leaders don’t realize they are probably sitting on a gold mine of data just waiting to be transformed into actionable information to support their strategies. I’m talking about the quality control data that are collected every day on the shop floor.

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By: Ryan E. Day

Every so often an event, invention, or idea is so momentous it changes the face of entire industries. In some ways, the global response to Covid-19 has been such an event. In the case of metrology, however, it has only underscored that the foundational requirements of test and measurement remain unchanged. The trick is how we attend to those requirements in times of social and professional distancing.

Immediate challenges

The manufacturing industry worldwide is being challenged on an unprecedented scale. One has only to look at the OSHA’s Covid-19 Guidance for the Manufacturing Workforce, or listen to the drumbeat of continuing trade wars to get an inkling of what manufacturers may have to deal with on their way to meeting their test and measurement requirements. And yet, product is still being produced. And that product is being inspected.

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By: Ryan E. Day

Writing a press release is easy. Writing a great press release takes some thought. And great press releases can draw more potential customers into your sphere of influence. Fortunately, writing great marketing copy isn’t all that complicated. Include these three elements and you’re well on your way to writing a great press release.

What is it?

Identify what is the one product, service, event, or piece of information you are sharing. Write down what that one thing is, and then whittle away anything that isn’t necessary. Your headline is often the “what” of your press release. (See figure 1.)

In order to be great:
Make it brief. Stay away from extraneous adjectives and adverbs. Just say what it is. Nobody takes your “awesome” and “the best” seriously in any case.
Make it clear. Don’t leave any question what the “it” is that this press release is promoting. Stay away from obscure or proprietary acronyms. If you must use an acronym, be sure to also spell it out. (See figure 2.)
Make it first. Do not bury that one thing with your company spiel or this year’s tagline.

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By: Ryan E. Day

An organization can achieve great results when everyone is working together, looking at the same information generated from the same data, and using the same rules. Changes can be made that affect a company’s bottom line through operational improvements, product quality, and process optimization. There are quality intelligence (QI) solutions that can help reveal hidden opportunities.

Companies can save money and improve operational efficiency by effectively focusing resources on the problems that matter most from both a strategic and tactical perspective. A proper QI system makes this practical in several ways.

The QI advantage

With a QI system, data are captured and analyzed consistently in a central repository across the organization. This means there aren’t different interpretations of the truth, and there is alignment among those on the shop floor, site management, and corporate quality.

Alignment is possible because of a positive cascade of events:
• Notifications are sent to the appropriate people, and workflows trigger the required actions. This means people are appropriately accountable for addressing issues. Those issues can then be analyzed to understand recurring problems and how to avoid them.

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By: Ryan E. Day

It’s no secret that manufacturing companies operate in an inherently unstable environment. Every operational weakness poses a risk to efficiency, quality, and ultimately, to profitability. All too often, it takes a crisis—like Covid-19 shutdowns—to reveal operational weaknesses that have been hampering an organization for a long time.

The nature of the problem

It is not just a manufacturing company’s production facility that faces operational challenges, either. The entire organization must address a host of risks and challenges; shifting consumer and market trends necessitate improving agility and responsiveness; dynamic and global competition force innovation not only in product development, but also service and delivery; evolving sales channels, including online outlets, challenge established profit margins. And these challenges are not going away any time soon.

The real problem, however, lies not with the challenges themselves but with a company’s reluctance to see the operational weakness that makes it susceptible to a particular risk in the first place.