5 Ways Your ERP System Supports Quality Management
The 2014 IPC Annual Electronics Assembly Quality Benchmark Study reveals many smaller electronics manufacturers fail to gather data on either the performance of their suppliers or the satisfaction of their customers. In contrast, an Aberdeen Group study, “Quality in Discrete Manufacturing,” reveals two thirds of manufacturers see customer satisfaction as the biggest driver for improved quality performance.
One reason behind this lack of attention to key metrics is almost certainly either these companies lack an ERP system, or the system they have doesn’t support their quality management efforts. It’s a fundamental precept of Quality Management that you can’t improve what you don’t measure and a strong ERP system provides a structure for making this happen. Here are five specific ways by which ERP helps maintain and improve quality.
1. Standardized procedures
ERP automates many business processes, from capturing orders and turning them in to production schedules to tracking inventory and managing shipping. This removes variability in each process and reduces the risk of error, complementing the policies and procedures of ISO 9000.
ISO 9000 drills down to the level of work instructions, and even here the linkage with ERP is clear. In electronics, IPC standards define how many soldering and assembly operations should be performed, and ERP provides the system for defining and maintaining routings and instructions covering these steps.
Lot numbers and work orders can be tracked through production with date and time of each manufacturing process being recorded. This creates traceability extending forward to individual customers (so you know who received which batch) and back to vendors (so it’s possible to quickly identify and quarantine suspect items or materials).