Achieving a quality-connected enterprise

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In my previous blog post we identified quality as the critical success factor that will deliver UK manufacturers through the potentially choppy fallout from Brexit and other global political and economic upheaval.

Quality in every thought, every action, every outcome

You might think differentiating on the quality of your products is a no-brainer – who wouldn’t seek to make every product incredibly high quality? Yet experience shows us that many manufacturers only capture data from the production line. While this approach creates centres of excellence it does not optimise quality throughout the enterprise.

In ruthlessly competitive manufacturing segments you cannot afford to produce a potentially market defining, innovative product only to have it poorly received by the consumers it’s designed for, or to arrive at retailers in less than perfect condition, for example. Today, absolutely every idea, every activity and every asset or outcome must be approached with a quality-first mindset.

This is the quality-connected enterprise – and how you could create it

Working with manufacturers such as Lenovo, Western Digital, Nestlé, HP, AstraZeneca and many others has confirmed what we suspected: Most manufacturers are only accessing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the intelligence that's latent within their corporate data.

Using technology-based data gathering tools, such as the internet of things, social media, and voice recognition in contact centres, and combining these new data sources of data with traditional data sets allows businesses to broaden their understanding of quality across the business.

Working with our customers, we’ve discovered that the insights derived from one part of the production lifecycle tell a vital story about issues that could impact the quality of downstream processes. Armed with this information, organisations can connect quality across the business and deploy mitigation and improvement strategies. The result is a cumulative increase in quality – without expensive redesigns of core processes.

With better quality insights comes optimal use of raw materials and components, fewer returns, more up-time on production lines, more compelling products in the right markets – and therefore more profitability.

How do we gain the deep insights we need to create the quality-connected enterprise?

It’s all about the depth, speed and robustness of the analytics capabilities you deploy – and whether they stretch and flex to work with the many new and traditional sources of information that big data generates. At SAS, we’ve developed an end-to-end analytics solution that drives quality throughout the lifecycle. We divide this solution into three component areas, each of which can be deployed on its own or together to deliver in-depth visibility across the organisation.

Here’s what they do:

  • Voice of Customer: takes a more robust approach to product development, incorporating classic market research data with insights from social media, competitor analysis and other associated sources. This ensures that features and benefits of the products you’re manufacturing meet with customers’ needs, to the standards of functionality and quality they demand. Our approach is different and more powerful because we include deep textual analytics and create streamlined feedback quality loops, to accelerate the product improvement process.
  • Voice of Product: your responsibility to customers doesn’t end when they hand over their cash for your goods. Quality issues often occur when products are in the field – think Hotpoint dishwashers and Samsung phones. Through IoT technologies, SAS analytics helps you listen to your components or consumer products in the field, so you can pinpoint issues faster – or even before they happen. This predictability reduces the cost of quality, enhances your brand image among buyers, and helps transform customer satisfaction to drive up market share in the long term.
  • Voice of Process: real-time monitoring and modelling of your processes gives you accurate and present insights to improve production yields and use manufacturing assets efficiently. You’ll also be able to mitigate the risk of your components causing failure in a final product, which in turn reduces product return rate and associated costs and losses.

With all bases covered from product development to production and in-field quality management, it’s easy to see how you can also become a quality-connected enterprise. Find out more about achieving excellence in quality.

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About Author

Tim Clark

Head of Manufacturing Solutions, SAS UK & Ireland

Tim joined SAS UK & Ireland in the middle of 2015 as an Industry Solution Specialist for the commercial team covering retail and manufacturing. Having worked with the solution software business for over 15 years, he brings with him wealth of experience. Prior to joining the company, Tim worked at IBM as an Industry Solution Specialist focused on the B2B and manufacturing markets for eCommerce, order management and supply chain optimisation. Over the years Tim has worked in many different markets for previous employers like Micros Systems and Torex but started his professional career at Rolls Royce aerospace (civil) as a Mechanical Design Engineer. This really was ‘rocket science’.

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