Lately, we’ve talked to a lot of innovative product companies trying to build a successful quality culture. The first question we asked was–what is a “successful quality culture”?
It means different things to different people, but in general it appears to be actively testing and assessing products from the moment they start development through when the product ships and is out in the field, all the while questioning “Can we do this better?”
Vague, I know, but to expand on “better” is tough. Generally we heard “better” means fewer steps, less scrap, less complication, more predictability, with lower costs. How do they think they can do this? These companies want to capture and address product complaints quickly, troubleshoot engineering issues, and leverage customer feedback.
They also want to proactively look at products and manufacturing processes that are working just fine to see if they can make them “better” too. All of them are trying to get their products out to the market as soon as possible, and want to have confidence the product quality is high and that end users will be well served. To that end, they are working hard on incorporating a quality focus into everything they do.
There are well known quality processes already defined. We collected comments from medical device manufacturers about how to improve quality processes including corrective and preventive action (CAPA), corrective action request (CAR), supplier corrective action request (SCAR), 8 Discipline (8D), 5 whys, and other remediation requirements. Here are a selected few:
These comments speak to the challenges that companies of all types and sizes face in their efforts to build that successful quality culture.
All of this research led us to one core principle: quality tools must support and encourage the investment of time and ideation from all stakeholders throughout the total product lifecycle in order to drive a culture of lasting continuous improvement.
This is where development of Arena Quality really started. We built Arena Quality to be a holistic solution, enabling company-wide collaboration among dissimilar groups. Together, everyone can capture and address product issues to create product improvements. And all have a focused understanding of quality value, pride in continuous growth and confidence that their contributions will drive company success.