QUALITY….many things may come to mind when one ponders this question. What does it mean, how is it measured, and how can it be achieved? Customer need defines quality in the EMS industry. Further defined, quality means fitness for use, Joseph Juran and conformance to requirements, Philip Crosby. It is crucial that a product or service meet the needs it was designed for and be free of deficiencies. Although quality may seem like a fairly thorough word, there are several types of quality in the industry, including quality management, quality engineering, quality assurance, and quality control. Each of these stands on its own, but they work together when used in the context of manufacturing.
Although quality can be found throughout the world of manufacturing, consistency is a trait that will allow a manufacturer to rise above the rest. When a customer needs a product in the EMS industry, a producer must prove quality assurance to guarantee that the product will not only be made to specifications, and tested thoroughly, but also will adhere to established quality standards. Quality management is not just about product or service quality, but also covers the means to achieve it. This is done by four chief components: quality planning, quality assurance, quality control and continuous improvement.
It is well known that any project worth doing well is worth planning well. Quality planning lines the process up, prepares the team for the process, and creates a framework and plan for the project’s progression. The word “assurance” gives customers something to fall back on: the assurance that they will receive a superior product. SMC’s Quality Assurance team ensures products are adhering to quality assurance procedures, while auditing of the system ensures consistency.
The process of quality control must be streamlined within the manufacturing processes such that finished products have a higher probability to meet the customer’s specific quality criteria. SMC uses quality metrics for all projects and processes, covering customer satisfaction, on time delivery, final quality control and test first pass yields. In the future, SMC plans to implement a new metric Cost of Poor Quality, which will help to consider costs that would disappear if systems, processes, and products were without flaw.
Quality must be tracked through a variety of internal and external audits, as well as inspections. Improvements can be explored and tested through these periodic assessments. Thorough testing detects nonconformance within the products and helps reveal the real variances in products, but procedural variances are realized and remedied through extensive audits and managed and maintained within the total Quality Management System. SMC utilizes an electronic Corrective Action system, geared at an 8D format. This world class system is fully integrated with our ERP system, allowing for superior corrective action tracking, reporting and historical data retention.
The consistent relationship between quality management procedures and testing processes is evident in the SMC team. The SMC Manufacturing Execution System is state of the art and geared specifically for the EMS industry. Unlike other providers of similar size, SMC has an outstanding level of tracking and interlocking of processes. Innovative engineers and support staff carry some of the highest certifications in the trade and are committed to continuous improvement and extensive testing of all products. Combined with a level of customer support, loyalty, and professional rarely seen, let SMC be your go-to team in the industry.
(Juran, 1999) (Crosby, 1980)