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The Importance of Quality KPIs in Manufacturing

Quality Management System (QMS)
October 12, 2021
person writing with pen on paper with bar graphs | PLEX

In today’s high-stakes world of manufacturing, technology can make or break a company’s success. To stay ahead of the competition, more and more factories are turning to manufacturing automation technology that improves operational excellence, lowers cost, and boosts quality.

As factory automation has grown, advanced quality management systems (QMS) have emerged. The strongest of those systems were developed to work as an integral part of that automation. This allows for easier management of quality metrics in manufacturing across various categories to collect, analyze, and prescribe actions for improvement. These metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) are vital to understanding how quality impacts the production floor and what steps can be taken.

Using Quality KPIs

KPIs are measured to indicate how well each process in manufacturing is performing. The data is then used to develop both tactical and strategic responses to quality issues across the enterprise. This can include internal processes, machine maintenance and health, vendor and supplier quality, and many others.

KPIs are used as a tool in many types of QMS. Whether a company uses PDCA, SPC, FMEA, or others, KPIs provide insight into product quality happening right now. Armed with this real-time information, managers and decision-makers can address quality issues as they occur and improve processes on the fly.

QMS systems deliver accurate and reliable KPIs and can operate as part of factory automation systems. With today’s reliance upon manufacturing robots and other high-speed mechanical systems, many quality adjustments can be programmed to occur automatically and autonomously. This means that the real-time data collected across the enterprise can be rapidly updated and analyzed with solutions deployed faster than human capabilities allow.

Types of Quality KPIs in Manufacturing

With QMS software from Plex, there are more KPIs available than ever before. They are flexible and can be customized and optimized for different industries. Some examples of quality KPIs in manufacturing include the following:

Inspection Results

QMS systems deliver KPIs for the all-important task of product inspection. The user can configure this inspection data to address first piece inspection, deploy digital check sheets at the floor level, engage SPC models in both real-time and historically, and monitor and control measurement devices to keep products in spec.

Defect Tracking by Category

With advanced analytics in Plex QMS software, defect categories are leveraged to validate quality and identify where and why defects occur. This means that staff can deploy root cause analysis to control problems as they arise. It also empowers manufacturers to include compliance awareness and adherence as a real-time production activity rather than an “after the fact” check, saving both time and money.

Machine-Identified Quality

Many defects happen because of machine wear. Others may be due to operator error or inadequate SOPs. KPIs are available for machine-identified quality problems with a robust QMS working directly with a factory automation system. They can be addressed as they occur and sometimes autonomously depending on the manufacturing system and level of factory automation. This means that continuous improvement can also become an automated dynamic process using real-time data rather than a static “post-mortem” process undertaken after the fact.

Supplier Quality

Plex QMS is a workhorse software system that doesn’t leave out the all-important consideration of supplier quality. Many systems require manual input of supplier quality. But with Plex, suppliers can link directly to available data to collaborate on defects. They can also submit or update quality documents for compliance and even perform product inspections, tying the supplier into the closed-loop QMS system.

With Plex QMS and production monitoring software, manufacturers know their production quality is in good hands. The system allows companies to connect, automate, track, and analyze their quality data in real-time. With advanced analytics and the ability to customize and optimize by user and by industry, the software provides superior quality KPIs in manufacturing.

By delivering visualization with real-time quality measurements, decision-makers can address problems with confidence, reduce costs by eliminating scrap and waste, and optimize processes throughout their operation. To find out more about how we can deliver accurate and fast KPIs to your fingertips, contact us today.

About the Author

Plex Team

Plex Systems, Inc., a Rockwell Automation company, is the leader in cloud-delivered smart manufacturing solutions, empowering the world’s manufacturers to make awesome products. Our platform gives manufacturers the ability to connect, automate, track and analyze every aspect of their business to drive transformation. The Plex Smart Manufacturing Platform includes solutions for manufacturing execution (MES), ERP, quality, supply chain planning and management, Industrial IoT and analytics to connect people, systems, machines, and supply chains, enabling them to lead with precision, efficiency and agility.