Having solid manufacturing compliance
systems in place is critical for companies in terms of making sure manufacturing legislation
is observed, maintaining quality benchmarks and consistently meeting—or even exceeding—customer expectations.
In a February 2008 article for IndustryWeek
, Louis Columbus of multinational computer technology corporation Cincom laid out a number of reasons for automating manufacturing compliance. Much has changed in the 4 1/2 years since the article was published—most notably the fact that the recession was just beginning in 2008, whereas in 2012, economic recovery is underway—but many of the points made by Columbus still hold true today. Indeed, some could even be considered timeless truths.Circumventing the cost of noncompliance
Columbus writes that "when products aren't regularly conforming to quality assurance or customer standards, it costs the entire company lost time in firefighting toward a workaround solution and possibly reduced customer satisfaction." In order to tackle conformance issues, he advises evaluating and redefining standards to be more cost-efficient and streamlined before implementing new approaches and integrating manufacturing technology
.Manufacturing software can help synchronize data to supplier ratings
Centralizing and automating data storage and processing can also be beneficial, Columbus notes. Specifically, manufacturers that rely solely upon manual processes to carry out audits and inspections do not typically correlate their findings back to supplier ratings.
"Maintaining the information in a centralized database, minimizing the possibility of error and automating calculations could in fact signal exceptional gains in the performance of suppliers to quality standards," he points out, adding that failure to do so will likely result in lost opportunities to optimize delivery, performance and quality.Manufacturing technology facilitates quality management
Similarly, it's important to integrate and monitor quality management strategies at a company-wide level. Manual quality management often leads to siloing, which can make it difficult to obtain a large-scale overview of operations. With manufacturing software
, data can be more easily drawn from different departments to provide greater overall insight into quality management and facilitate the creation of compliance systems of record. This can be helpful with regard to determining which management initiatives are successful and which need work in relation to supplier trends and quality requirements.