Today, industry 4.0 technologies have fast become imperatives for business continuity. These advancements have also paved the way for newer quality paradigms. Quality is perceived as a critical component of value engineering in a digital ecosystem, a coach and a partner, and not just a business cost. In many ways, integrating compliance and quality in day-to-day operations has become imperative for businesses in the new normal.
Multiple sectors and industries can imbibe a smart quality approach as an aspect of their core business functionality. The mandate for effectiveness and speed is changing. There will sector-specific use cases for integrating smart quality based on the pace of technological adoption. Eventually, leaders will have to use smart quality for more robust and resilient supply chains of the future.
Based on insights from McKinsey, let’s take a quick look at how businesses can leverage smart quality for business outcomes.
A greater degree of quality improvements have been noticed by companies that have adopted the smart-quality approach vis-à-vis traditional measures: A 50 percent improvement in the cost of quality has been noticed by organizations who have embraced smart quality. The use of smart quality is especially relevant in the medtech and pharma space. It is an approach towards quality that goes beyond even compliance and execution.
A smart quality system unlocks value in the following ways:
- Provides information to companies about evolving customer needs.
- Automates data collection and creates more capacity in the organization. Other facets like reporting and trending can also be automated. Engineers can therefore focus only on building, sales personnel on sales, and designers with design.
- Business workflows that are organically built, flexible, and intuitive have embedded compliance.
- The mandate for regulations is met to the letter.
Unlocking value via smart quality would require a change in approach from treating quality compliance as a cost of doing to one where it is perceived as a critical facet towards unlocking business value.
Quality controls and assurance get smarter
Companies can now integrate, digitize, and automate their quality controls to make them more effective, efficacious, and quicker. Many industries today, especially pharma, can integrate quality controls in manufacturing, development, and even the supply chain. New technologies like cobots are improving anomaly detection. These cobots work in tandem with human beings. They use automation to inspect and handle parts before passing them on to next operator. Technologies like AI and automation are enabling smart quality controls to bring in new levels of quality efficacy across industries.
The right-first-time-indicator for just developed parts has been improved by more than 80 percent by an automotive OEM via advanced analytics. Data from 24 varied sources, including mechanical processes and human behaviour, was used to circumvent potential delays. An in-depth analysis of a thousand plus car components led to the better development of machine learning algorithms. Apart from this, the algorithms also learn from a rich repository of data from product development projects over 3 years. Several improvement initiatives including those that assessed critical issues in online builds, and a more stringent framework for virtual-build-process protocols thereby leading to opportunities for optimization across the board.
In this way, integrating smart quality controls can lead to improved manufacturing paradigms in the long-run.
The road ahead
Optimization is the name of the game for businesses today. Integrating smart quality can enable businesses to unlock new avenues for value generation. It can help weed out key bottlenecks and help technologies work in better sync. It is a critical facet for giving businesses that implement it a veritable edge over their competitors.