In early November, Arena announced a partnership with 1factory to provide OEMs with complete visibility of product quality from initial design through the quality control processes on their factory floors and across their supply chain.
With this partnership, customers have an end-to-end quality control solution capable of identifying non conformance to specifications early in the design/manufacture process and can accelerate the necessary corrective actions averting the dreaded ‘line-down’ or massive product recalls.
This partnership continues to strengthen Arena’s overarching goal of offering innovative companies the holy grail of an all-in-one product development platform that eliminates the need to bandage together siloed systems that cause blind spots, data duplication and barriers to collaboration.
We recently spoke with 1factory’s President Nipun Girotra to get his thoughts on the world of product design and manufacturing. In this three-part blog post series, you’ll discover the challenges facing most global manufacturers and the keys to success.
Arena: 1factory is a company with an unconventional name. Could you share what you do?
Girotra: Modern manufacturing requires the successful exchange of data and orchestration of work across hundreds of physical factories. Our goal at 1factory is to deliver a line of products that helps manufacturers exchange data and work with their suppliers as though they are one virtual factory.
Our first product is a feature-level or parameter-level quality control solution, designed to help manufacturers of complex products control product quality at the source (within their factories and across their supply chain). With 1factory’s quality control solution, manufacturers can speedup inspections and improve product quality.
Arena: Increasing product complexity (product variants, number of parts, and number of features) and increasing supply chain complexity (number of suppliers, number of hand-offs / tiers and the global spread) make product quality control very challenging. Do you agree?
Girotra: Yes. Bringing new products to market now requires flawless execution of hundreds and often thousands of product parameters within the factory and across the supply chain. Product parameters that must be controlled include raw material specifications, dimensional specifications, special processing requirements (e.g. heat-treatment, anodization, cleaning, coloring etc.) and functional parameters (e.g. voltage, speed, torque etc.).
Arena: In many companies, quality control data is still being collected on paper with spreadsheets and compiled into reports to meet customer-specific or industry-specific compliance requirements. A lot of data is being generated — thousands of spreadsheets are created each year — but almost none of the data is being analyzed in real-time or oftentimes not conjoined up and down the enterprise to truly extract the analytical benefits from it holistically.
Girotra: That’s because the QC department is under pressure to inspect, create a compliance report and ship product. There’s never enough time to analyze the data or to feed back the findings to the manufacturing floor.
Arena: It appears factory managers lack visibility into the defect-risk-levels of their shipments. They also have to manually go through hundreds of spreadsheets a day and often learn about manufacturing defects only when their customers complain.
Girotra: Yes. At the customer’s end, defective components disrupt production, delay shipments and result in wasted capacity. And often these defective parts make their way to the end customer directly through the spare-parts supply chain.
Arena: Many industries also suffer from the hidden costs of high variability.
Girotra: As an example, in the semiconductor equipment industry, inadequate supplier controls result in part-to-part variability and process control problems. Similarly, in the industrial equipment industry, components see high levels of operating stresses, and high component variability results in degraded performance and early-life failure.
And most importantly, a single defect can put a customers’ health and safety at risk, and result in expensive reputation damaging recalls and litigation.
Now, wasn’t this blog post a complete bummer? Well, tune in next week when we discuss how Arena’s partnership with 1factory helps overcome the multitude of challenges that modern manufacturers face.