Specifications are the standards or the minimally accepted requirements for important features (or characteristics) of a product. Many manufacturers also set their own specifications. The confusion between specification compliance and quality can lead to financial loss, wasted time, and so on. For example, a product can fall within specifications but still prove unsatisfactory for clients. Additionally, manufacturers that rely solely on meeting specifications can miss out on opportunities to create more cost-effective processes. Thus, applying several statistical principles can immensely help a company identify ways to positively reform a process and product. By moving beyond the gauge parameters of specifications, manufacturers can boost quality with an efficient, optimized, and cost-effective process that performs better and satisfies the customer base.
When I enter a manufacturing plant, the first thing I look for is paper — clipboards, paper forms, folders, envelopes, binders, etc. The presence of these items on the plant floor is a telling indicator of the plant's maturity and operations.
Don't get me wrong, I love paper, and it has many uses. As a technology, few alternatives are faster, more flexible, and cheaper to implement than paper. Paper itself is not the problem, but it is a crucial symptom pointing to deeper challenges in the factory. My goal in helping Operations improve their efficiency, effectiveness, and profitability is not "to eliminate paper," however that is the inevitable result.
While many process manufacturers understand the potential benefits of digital transformation, often, their vision is clouded by past failed projects. Just 30% of digital transformation initiatives are successful and because they require both time and financial investment.
Fortunately, we can learn from past mistakes. With a little extra planning and preparation, you can pursue a foolproof digital transformation that supports positive change throughout your facility and sets you up for continuous improvement. Avoid the frustration of attempting a digital transformation and failing by adopting a data-first approach.
Most process improvements start with plenty of momentum, but their changes don’t always stick. In fact, just 54% of major change initiatives stick long-term—a concerning statistic, considering the number of dedicated resources to these types of projects.
Whether you are a beginner to making digital process manufacturing improvements or a seasoned veteran, to enact change that lasts, we must identify why operational improvements don’t stick in the first place. Often, it’s not the tools used but the psychology behind the improvements that come up short. Improvement requires change, and to support that; we must accept that we aren’t perfect and recognize a need for change. Here, we’ll take a closer look at some of the barriers to change as well as ways to dismantle them.
In uncertain times, it’s important for Food & Beverage companies to reassure their customers that food and safety standard are being met consistently. Yet, COVID-19 has introduced unique challenges for undergoing and performing audits, from social distancing to risks associated with travel. Unfortunately, waiting until the threat of the virus is completely gone to have an audit performed could cause your certification to lapse, which could risk the loss of important customers.
In Food and Beverage and CPG, it’s not just your company’s internal performance that matters. Every link in the supply chain plays a role in quality, which is why it’s critical to ensure your suppliers are performing to your expectations. A strong supplier approval program should be comprehensive enough to not only minimize risks, but also satisfy compliance regulations such as FSMA’s requirement for Foreign Supplier Verification Programs.
As you work to strengthen your supplier assessment procedure and other elements of your approval program, here are a few steps to consider incorporating into your processes.
Many leaders in process manufacturing plants know there’s a wealth of benefits to be had by going paperless. Yet, transforming processes which have been in place for years—or even decades—is a daunting prospect. Oftentimes, there’s a considerable gap between where facilities are now and where they want to be. Filling that gap is the end goal, since going paperless will allow you to leverage your plant’s data to drive measurable performance improvements and boost profitability. But where do you begin?
Here, we’ll dive into what it looks like to go digital, including the processes and technology it takes to get there.
The Food & Beverage industry proved its resilience in 2020, perhaps more than any other time in history. Here at SafetyChain, we watched as companies overcame enormous pressures to keep shelves stocked and employees healthy in the midst of ever-evolving CDC updates and guidelines. While safety and agility have always been critical to success in the industry, COVID-19 called for quick thinking when supply chains were disrupted, as well as an even stronger commitment to safety - both of our food and employees.
What Is Statistical Process Control?
Simply put, SPC uses statistical methods and sampling programs to help plant and operations managers understand and control variability in their manufacturing processes. Charts highlight process variations in real-time, triggering alerts as processes begin to trend out of expected, standard limits. The main objective of statistical process control (SPC) is to manage operations better and reduce waste and rework. Plant and Ops managers benefit from SPC because it gives them the concrete information and clear markers needed to stop a line and fix problems before things spin out of control.
While it remains important in any aspect of manufacturing, root cause analysis in the food, beverage, and CPG industries is critical for safety, compliance, and performance reasons. Oftentimes, problems arise which do not have an obvious explanation. In these instances, further investigation is necessary to arrive at the root cause.