Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cost of Quality

            When companies manufacture consumer products, they are creating more than just a product. The product is a representation of the company as a whole. It is a companies’ reputation. That being said, it is obvious as to why a company would implement a process to ensure a quality product is produced. This is when the concept of Cost of Quality comes into play. The cost of quality metric compares the costs of making sure a product is sufficient to the costs incurred for a poor product. CoQ says that it is beneficial for a company to spend a short time ensuring the quality of a product; rather than produce a poor product that causes internal and external costs that will result in a larger cost.
            It is clear that creating a quality product greatly benefits a company. However, on rare occurrences, companies may actually spend too much time focusing on quality. I am reminded of a quality issue that I encountered during my co-op in which too much time was spent on quality. It was during my time studies that this specific problem arose. In a production cell with two stations and a final quality station, the touch times at each station were the same. However, the quality station was double the time of the previous two which resulted in a significant bottleneck. My boss informed me that the quality station could not be changed because it was a specific checklist sent from the customer. I brought up the fact that if the line could be balanced, the unit production would have increased by roughly 30% per shift. He simply said, “If the customer wants to pay for the long checklist, let them”. This is a perfect example of how a company can spend too much time on quality.
 While there may have been a reason the customer wanted a detailed checklist, the checklist was not made with a fast-paced environment in mind. In the environment the checklist was used, a written explanation for the checklist was a very inefficient method. A wiser, faster solution, which would not affect the quality of the product would have been to have an image checklist.
-MD 11/1/12

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