Quality manufacturing in the digital age: Everything you need to know

Quality manufacturing in the digital age represents a paradigm shift in how products are designed, produced, and monitored....

quality manufacturing

quality manufacturing

Quality manufacturing in the digital age represents a paradigm shift in how products are designed, produced, and monitored. In this article, we’ll take a look at the key aspects of quality manufacturing, the definition of the “digital age”, tips for skills management in quality manufacturing, and more.

What is quality manufacturing? Copied

Quality manufacturing 1 involves the consistent production of products that meet or exceed predetermined standards and customer expectations. It focuses on:

  • Minimizing defects
  • Ensuring product reliability
  • Optimizing production efficiency

To do so, manufacturers focus on several key areas. Let’s take a look.

 

Product specifications

Quality manufacturing hinges on clearly defined specifications and standards for the product. These are often established at the outset of the manufacturing process, and encompass the characteristics and features that the product must possess to meet customer needs.

Process control

 To ensure quality manufacturing, manufacturers implement rigorous control measures are throughout the manufacturing process to monitor and manage variables that could affect product quality. This includes monitoring raw materials, production equipment, and environmental conditions.

 

Quality assurance

 Systems and procedures are put in place to ensure that each step of the manufacturing process conforms to the specified standards. This may involve inspections, testing, and documentation to track and verify the quality of the products at various stages.

 

Quality Management Systems (QMS)

Many organizations implement quality management systems, such as ISO 90012, to formalize and standardize their quality processes. These systems provide a framework for establishing and maintaining quality objectives.

 

What is the digital age in manufacturing? Copied

In the context of manufacturing, the “digital age” – which is often used synonymously with “Industry 4.0”– refers to the use of digital technologies to revolutionize production processes.3 This often encompasses the use of advanced technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence, data analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) in manufacturing systems.

The digital age has the potential to bring myriad benefits to manufacturing organizations, among them enhanced:

  • Efficiency
  • Precision
  • Flexibility
  • Innovation

The trick to realizing those benefits, however, lies in an effective skills management strategy.

 

Skills management for quality manufacturing in the digital age Copied

An effective skills management strategy for quality manufacturing will function similarly to a skills management strategy for any industry. However, to fully leverage the innovative technologies often used in the digital age, you may need to make a few tweaks.

In this section, we’ll take a look at several of these technologies and the benefits they bring to manufacturing organizations. Using this information, you can better tailor your skills management strategy to quality manufacturing in the digital age.

 

Digital twin technology

 Digital twin technology involves creating a virtual replica of a physical product or system. Manufacturers use digital twins to simulate and analyze different scenarios, optimizing production processes, and ensuring quality before physical manufacturing begins.

According to research 4, organizations can achieve revenue increases of as much as 10% “by developing digital twins of their customers, allowing those customers to fully interact and immerse themselves within a company’s product.”

 

Smart manufacturing and IoT

 Smart manufacturing and the Internet of Things (IoT) allow machines, sensors, and devices to communicate and share data in real-time.

This connectivity enhances visibility into the manufacturing process, enabling proactive maintenance, reducing downtime, and ensuring quality control. It can also result in huge productivity and quality gains5 – by as much as 20% in each metric.

 

Advanced robotics and automation

 Robots and automation systems are increasingly integrated into manufacturing lines in the digital age. They are able to perform tasks with high precision, speed, and consistency, minimizing errors and contributing to improved overall product quality.

Additionally, robots are becoming cheaper, with the cost of automation often less than that of manual labor.6

 

Data analytics for quality control

 Manufacturers leverage data analytics to predict and prevent defects in manufacturing processes. Analyzing historical data helps identify patterns and potential issues, allowing for proactive measures to maintain quality standards.

“Big Data” in the manufacturing industry was valued at $904.65 million in 2019 – a number that is predicted to grow to more than $4.5 billion by 2025. This growth is in part fueled by IoT-enabled sensors and devices, which better enable the collection of valuable data manufacturing organizations can use to further streamline processes 7.

 

Supply chain integration

 Digital technologies facilitate seamless integration across the supply chain. Manufacturers can monitor and optimize the entire production process, from raw material sourcing to distribution, ensuring a consistent and high-quality end product.

Such integrations can drastically increase demand forecast accuracy – by as much as 50% – as well lower operation costs by 30%, result in a 75% reduction in lost sales, and decrease on-site inventories by 75 percent%.8

 

How AG5 revolutionizes skills management for quality manufacturing Copied

Research shows that, in manufacturing environments9, “high-value” employees, such as engineers, spend

“30- 70% of their time gathering information from legacy systems and manually copying in spreadsheets.”

These legacy systems include antiquated, inefficient methods of skills management – which are cumbersome, complicated, and unsustainable for manufacturers looking to streamline or optimize manufacturing processes.

AG5’s skills management software allows you to get more from your high-value employees, as they will spend less time focusing on administrative tasks and more time focusing on how to ensure that your manufacturing processes can fully reap the benefits of quality manufacturing in the digital age.

With AG5, you will receive:

  • Clear oversight of the skills and qualifications that are present within your organization
  • Clear oversight of the skills your organization needs
  • An easy-to-read overview of certifications and qualifications that will soon need renewing or refreshing
  • Insight into which staff will need upskilling or reskilling to keep your organization future-proof via succession planning and recruitment initiatives

Ready to take the next steps? Schedule a free, live, 15-minute demo today to see how AG5 and quality manufacturing go hand-in-hand.

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Original version | November 17, 2023

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