In manufacturing, quality control is a process that ensures customers receive products free from defects and meet their needs. When done the wrong way, it can put consumers at risk. For example, the recent defect found in Takata airbags resulted in the biggest automotive recall in history. The recall includes almost 69 million airbag inflators and may cost billions of dollars. The recall will last until the end of 2019 and take until 2020 to resolve.
Major recalls like these can be prevented through effective quality control in manufacturing. Some common tools used to support quality control include:
- Statistical process control (SPC) monitors and controls quality by tracking production metrics. It helps quality managers identify and solve problems before products leave the facility.
- Six Sigma uses five key principles to ensure products meet customers’ needs and have zero defects.
When supported by lean tools like Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), 5S, and Kaizen, most if not all defects can be eliminated.