Quality management in electronic devices industry

Date of publication: 30.08.2019

Project in electronic devices industry, if successful, comes from what the client wants and what the market expects. Between them springs up quality – the bridge between a company and its clients. Quality planning is then answering the question how to deliver what is in demand. But why does it take so much to plan this very process, especially in manufacturing electronic devices, and when to call quality enough?

Quality in manufacturing electronic devices entails many departments and people to be planned. Especially when it is outsourced. As one of the fastest growing trends in the electronics industry, it looks day by day more attractive to many businesses which now more often contract their production outside to cut the costs down or reduce time to launch the product on the market. From the first scratch to the assembled device a lot might change – compatible technology, demand or politics. No matter the change, all comes down to not overpaying for the production. This is why you should plan the quality of a product.

And there are many issues that can make the plan veer unexpectedly:

Undue output – producing too much, or even not enough, is a real threat in case of the changing market demands.

Lack of information – fast tempo, multi-tasking or information clog leads to missing what is going on in the project.

Unbalanced workload – keeping quality on a desired level needs properly distributed people among their work stations to maintain the work flowing the right pace.

Incompatible manufacturing speed – magazine stock, assembly stations and tests – they all need smooth and easy progress.

Non-compliant product – such an outcome is the result of an unorganized quality control management and that, speaking of control, is a real control light for the whole process.

Not too cold not too hot – quality management

Non-compliant product is realistically the worst scenario that can happen to any outsourcer. Too broad and general guidelines will more than sure mislead the team to create a product of unwanted features. Saying: “It must be good,” says, in truth, nothing.

Giving too general guidelines and trying for the product to be the best of the bests is a risky business. Adopting an unclear or short product design specification can result in the launch of an unwanted product on the market, and, of course, the loss of a lot of money. On the other hand, exhaustive specification guidelines may clog somewhere in the gorge of the company’s operational tactics. After many days spent on mastering only one feature, it all may come up as unnecessary, while it only needed to be better supervised by a quality control manager, who sees the process as a whole and knows where to switch the track.

“A proper plan opens the gate to potential marketing the product. In VECTOR BLUE HUB we work closely with clients at every stage of the project to understand their needs and finally give them the optimal solution,” says Piotr Krauze, Quality & Reliability Assurance Director.

The market is changing and it is essential to optimize the product by ongoing working on its vitality.

“We simply answer the question if anyone still needs this particular product with these particular specifications?” Piotr points out.

Investing in quality reduces time

Having both design and manufacturing divisions on board entails quality management as mandatory. The later the stage of quality control is introduced to the project, the more costs weigh down the end product, and that results in not delivering the end value. Too little attention paid to quality increases the risk of later service costs, complaints or even loss in the future business opportunities. Too much scrutiny, however, decreases maintenance costs but increases the entry level, namely, the price. The whole game swings around the point in the middle – to deliver satisfactory product quality together with low costs of investment and maintenance.

how to find an optimal point between quality level and quality costs
Quality management in electronic devices industry is all about finding the right point between the level of the quality itself and its cost

Keeping quality on track

Quality assurance in development and manufacturing electronic devices is not a static, once settled decision. To keep it going the right track there come invaluable tools which, when planned and rightly implemented, make the quality process smooth. The range of such tools reflects best what quality management really is – it is a touchpoint of a company and the market. Quality sees the company from the helicopter view and it goes across the divisions and departments to assure that all the resources contribute to sustaining what the clients expect.

Tools of quality management:

Process. That reflects the broadest scope of all tools. It incorporates continuous improvement, ongoing optimization and adjusting the product to the market. A well-planned process answer to the problems concerning risk management. Components short supplies, market niche satiation or shorts in the workload – they all needed to be named as the risky points. After the process is planned, there comes the moment for the next tool.

People. They are not only engineers responsible for technical improvement and development, but also managers who keep eye on whether tasks stay open or fall into the done category.

Traceability system. It track components, manufacturing itself, gather data in real time and does everything to reduce human error. It is constituted by the laboratory, thorough documentation and IT softwares for work organization.

Certification. These documents are the best proof that a company has acquired some requirements which will guarantee repeatability of product quality. A certificate says that someone from outside the company has accredited the way the job is done.

Quality management in huge part is about overall managing the project. That is why it takes so much so many people into organizing it. Planning, let us say it, prevents unpredicted spendings, even if at the beginning it calls for some. The answer when to say enough to quality development is at the moment when the market need is covered with a well-managed product. The wanted and bought outcome is the best proof for the best quality. Quality is nothing more, thus, than a language between the end user and the producer, as it allows them to fulfill their needs.

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