Improving Automotive Quality Control in a Quality-Obsessed Industry

4 ways for auto industry professionals to improve quality control in manufacturing.

Detroit recently hosted a gathering of leading industry professionals at the annual Manufacturing in America conference, arranged jointly by Siemens and Electro-Matic. As ever, we appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the cutting-edge technologies in the industry, and to share about our own tools and their capabilities.

Of course, being held in Detroit, the auto industry was a prime topic of conversation for many in attendance. And one leading concern for many manufacturers had to do with quality control—specifically, how to both assess and improve quality control standards across the industry.

It would be hard to find any manufacturer that didn’t care deeply about quality control measures in their company. Poorly manufactured products not only lead to launch delays and higher rework costs; they also damage a brand’s reputation. But in the automotive industry, quality control failures can also result in lost lives. This makes it of paramount importance to both establish and follow high standards.

Much easier said, than done, right? Even with a strong commitment from leadership, implementing procedures throughout an organization is often an ongoing challenge. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for ways improve quality control measures across your own company, here’s a good place to start.

1. Begin with industry culture.

To start, high quality control standards can only be maintained when everyone is on board. Quality checks and process reviews may prevent some—or even most—mistakes from slipping through, but they’re only intended to serve as a safety net in case the standard quality practices fail. The moment companies start relying on them to take on the burden of maintaining standards for the entire organization, mistakes are more likely to happen.

To promote quality standards, organizations should clearly state the outcomes they want to achieve, train employees to spot when these outcomes are not being met, an demonstrate that they take these guidelines seriously. In many cases, simply knowing that their work is being observed and measured is enough for employees to improve their work.

2. Include your supply chain in your quality objectives.

Many organizations outsource part of their work to third-party suppliers, both as a means of stabilizing production supply during busy months, and to draw on external skill sets when required. And yet, even though many of these secondary businesses are trusted contractors, it doesn’t follow that they’re all maintaining the same quality standards as their parent organization.

The goal for organizations should be simple: find suppliers who meet or exceed their own level of quality expertise. A supplier who’s already meeting these standards can do nothing but make the company they work for look good.

3. Use the right tools to gather data.

Even when your employees are committed to quality, the capabilities of their toolset can be major limiting factors. Like using a trowel to dig a foundation, the wrong tool will get your organization nowhere fast, and may even cause quality failures as engineers look for places to save on time and cost elsewhere.

Because of this, an investment in high-end quality assessment tools is almost certain to pay off for your organization. With more detailed information providing actionable insight into your manufacturing processes, your business can iterate more quickly, helping products get to market faster with fewer rework costs. And with more accurate analysis, it will be harder for manufacturing flaws to slip through your quality control safeguards.

4. Go deep on your data analysis.

When it comes to outpacing the competition, data is an invaluable ally. A powerful data analytics tool doesn’t just allow your engineers and technicians to identify manufacturing flaws, it also helps them improve the overall product in ways you might not have predicted using a more limited tool set.

Having access to a deeper data set raises the bar for your organization, allowing it to achieve higher design standards as well as improved quality control. Deeper insights facilitate product innovations that can transform your organization into industry leaders—not just in quality control, but across the manufacturing field.

ASYS provides the data and the tool set.

When it comes to assessing design standards against manufactured parts, the Inora Affinity System (ASYS) offers unparalleled insights that any company can use to improve their quality control processes. As a point-cloud matching program, it gathers input data from your scanning tools and compares it against the original design specifications. Any deficiencies or variations are immediately identified in real-time, which engineers can then assess to determine if the variances are within acceptable tolerance boundaries.

In addition, the information gleaned from the ASYS program offers unlimited data analysis potential to find trends, outliers, and esoteric manufacturing intel that cannot be realized by any other system on the market today. These capabilities can significantly expand with the in-depth analysis engineers gain from using ASYS. With this system, technology is no longer a factor holding them back—only their creativity.