Six Sigma. What’s in it for you?

Six Sigma. What's in it for you?

Your manufacturing process is made up of a number of different and complex activities. Some are easy to keep a track of, providing a healthy, efficient output. But, there are going to be a number of other cases that you will eventually have to deal with. And exactly when you’re scaling up or when things seem right, arises the most difficult of all problems, Quality! It can burden you in terms of time and money if you try to minimize quality issues intuitively, as you will always land a situation that sneaks past your best efforts. Quality, or its optimization, is therefore a process rather than an end goal. And talking of quality, Six Sigma is the most widely use methodologies to improve business processes.

So, how do we deal with these issues? How do we, if not get rid of, at least try reducing these quality issues?

If you have done your fair bit of research, you would have definitely come across a number of solutions and philosophies to deal with quality issues. But having the right knowledge to implement them is what gives companies an advantage over the others.

And as mentioned above earlier, the most widely implemented and time tested ideas in the land of supreme quality production, Six Sigma!

In layman language, Six Sigma is the concept of getting things done in an accurate and simplified manner, by ensuring a reduction in variation. It is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects. Basically, Six Sigma helps in ensuring that every time a process is run, the outcome is as close to the expected outcome as possible.

Every company dreams to achieve zero defect production, but fall short due to the presence of several process variability factors. This results in a certain degree of variation which causes an increase in defects, However, with the help of Six Sigma, companies can design systems in such a way that the production is well within control limits, minimizing the number of failures, defective items, variations, deviations and eventually rejection rate. A number of companies have reached Sigma levels 3 and 4. For reference, here’s what Six sigma levels mean and what it takes to reach and maintain those levels. The massive, non-linear drop in Defects Per Million Opportunities (DPMO) is evident of the effort that goes into ensuring process control as we go up the Sigma levels –

In other words, companies that live and breathe the Six Sigma ideology produce a mere 3.4 defective pieces from a production of a million items. Just 3.4 out of 1,000,000!

But how is Six Sigma implemented, and why is it being used in a number of companies?

Born in 1979, Six Sigma is a philosophy that works on the DMAIC principle. DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control. It starts with identifying a problem in the process, then defining a problem statement, and identifying the metrics that need improvement to solve the problem. Once the target is set, the company proceeds towards obtaining the current status of the process and chalking it out for further analysis. Once the team has gathered the necessary data to analyse the process, they sit and decide on the suggestions on how to deal with the root cause of the problem and give a green signal for the improvement phase to begin. After making the required changes to improve the process, the analysis is redone and subsequently a control plan is drawn to ensure that the changes affected remain relevant and that the system does not revert to the earlier state of affairs.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? And yet, most of the companies find it difficult to implement this strategy in their daily activities.

The answer lies in the very basic definition of Six Sigma. It requires the user to be disciplined and data driven. And with the “Save Money” approach to business, it is fair to say that quality management is not something which might grind your gears. Several techniques can be employed to capture data that assists in decision making, ranging from simple to use apps like Qoti, to expensive solutions like automation and robotics. However, the one obvious thing is, capturing data data can make or break your company’s profitability. With every passing day, the importance of capturing data timely is growing. So what can you do to get started on the Six Sigma journey? For starters, if you simply Define and Measure digitally, analysis becomes significantly easier with the use of simple analytical tools. Based on your analysis and the results generated, improvements are made to the process and there lies the beauty of Six Sigma.

 

Qoti helps you in all steps along your Six Sigma journey by documenting (Define), capturing (Measure), generating real time reports (Analysis), and tracking (Control) and after some use, suggesting key red flags (Improve) by spotting previously unidentified issues. It is only a matter of time that real time analysis and inspection shall be your go-to solution to deal with quality issues and minimize variations. The ball is in your court now, and we are here to help you make the most of it!

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From Ready to Export Ready!

Getting Export Ready!

5 Steps that will make you move towards a more quality oriented and customer appreciated manufacturer.

The domestic manufacturing industry faces a novel challenge today. The big companies are now looking at smaller, less lucrative market segments and there’s fresh competition from new and existing players. Apart from their deep pockets, multinationals now have the latest weapon in their arsenal – Data.

Data allows them to reduce their workforce, increase production levels, reduce downtime and rejections, and find patterns of failure. They use predictive analytics to foresee problems, they use data mining to make business decisions, and they expect higher quality levels from their vendors. Following in the same footsteps, several Indian manufacturers with eyes on global markets have started taking steps to become competitive on a global scale. So what does it take to ensure that you can compete and work towards this goal? Here are five steps our customers have taken to ensure they stay relevant without compromising on their profits or topline in the long run.

 

Start capturing Data

Data is the new fuel and it is of utmost importance to track your production data. The inability to rely on and make data driven decisions is the prime differentiator between an MNC and a small manufacturer. Identifying problems only at the final stages of inspection, facing delays in production due to machine breakdown are no more an option, especially when it could cost you a customer. Capturing data accurately and timely is one thing, but getting real time analytics from it is the real deal when it comes to beating competition. But does that mean you need to invest in the million dollar shop floor setups that other companies have? Not really. The market has several tools that enable you to shift to a data driven production unit immediately. Our customers offer rave reviews of how their teams are able to handle almost all quality related issues from the comfort of a mobile or a tablet.

 

Empower your quality department

All manufacturers with critical components being manufactured have a quality department which deploys inspectors on the shop floor to ensure stage production quality. What we have observed, however, is that over time, these inspectors are more busy doing mundane repetitive paper work, and quality management becomes more of a compliance than a function. The job of the inspector deviates towards preparing reports and paperwork, helping with auditors’ queries or correcting issues after production has halted due to rejections, which directly contradicts the core function of the role – ensuring a controlled defect free production.

This needs to change. The quality department needs to be empowered with tools that help them move around the shop floor freely, look at high quality graphs and analytics in real time, and make on the spot decisions when needed.

Control Rejections

Rejection – that one dreaded word that is surely bound to make you feel disappointed. The loss of machine and man hours, generation of scrap and production of sub standard products is a reality in most factories. Yet, no one wants a high rejection rate. But as tough as it might sound, dealing with rejection is not as difficult. The key lies in using the right approach. But being consistent in data capture, and identifying issues using data, companies can use data driven decision making and Pareto analysis to focus on issues that really matter. A solution which thrives to assist in managing quality, ensuring a reduction in rejection and thus, cost of quality is the way to go.

Keep your tools calibrated

A measurement system is as good as its current calibrated state. A well calibrated instrument is key to accurate measurements. Accurate measurements give you the real insight into what’s really going on. While most companies still track instrument calibration frequency using stickers and excel sheets, the lapses in calibration generally go unnoticed. If you have experienced this before, it’s probably a good time to check how often these calibrations are being done late. In a process line, while working with several instruments, an inspector/operator is bound to miss out on timely calibration of some instruments. This might be a genuine mistake, but it will directly affect your process control, not to mention the increased cost of rework, false rejections/acceptances, possible damage to equipment, etc. What if you could simply plan these calibrations just once, and get reminded on every due date? Wouldn’t it be easier to have a reminder for each instrument based on their calibration cycle?

Preventive Machine maintenance

All machines can break and it is important that we proactively monitor these breakdowns. Machines are possibly the most critical aspect of your shop floor, yet more often than not, the most disregarded. They need regular maintenance and timely upkeep. With time, they show a pattern of problems that can be identified and worked on. Preventive maintenance is key to ensuring that your operations are not affected by the very investments you rely on, your machines. However, more often than not, machine repairs are a follow up to breakdowns, that result in high repair costs, loss of profits and production, and wasted man hours. A proper machine maintenance plan, along with documenting each breakdown, and possibly identifying major failures would go a long way in ensuring a low downtime production setup.

So how do our customers do it?

Qoti was designed from day one to focus and solve each of these problems. We literally sat and worked n the shop floor of various industries, both domestic and export suppliers, to identify potential problems and come up with smart solutions. Your very own quality management solution, an easy to use mobile application that brings a reduction in your cost of quality and rejection within weeks of implementation.

Our users love how we’ve automated their quality departments, with reminders for all major occasions, tracking delays, issuing alerts for red flags and resulting in direct savings and benefits to the company.

They have been able to reduce the time spent by inspectors in redundant daily jobs by as much as 40%, allowing them to spend more time in actively contributing towards better product quality.

If you’re interested in Qoti, you can request a demo for your company.

 

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Top 5 things SMEs can do to compete with Multinational Manufacturers

Top 5 things SMEs can do to compete with Multinational Manufacturers

A guide to building a niche set of skills and capabilities, that will help you compete and outperform multinational companies.

Multinational companies (MNCs) are large scale operations that cover multiple geographical and political environments, structured carefully to leverage the best possible combination of resource placement that maximizes profits as a whole. With the opening of the global economy, these giants offer products at cut throat prices, make use of economies of scale and brand value to compete with local manufacturers. The dilemma of a small or medium enterprise (SME) is pretty clear then – How to compete with such a giant?

Well, let us assure you, it’s not the end of the world. Several small companies continue to thrive in the face of such competition, sometimes even holding a larger market share than them, thanks to some interesting advantages they build for themselves.

Fewer Products (Specialization)

Most entrepreneurs that operate in the B2B segment, start as generalists taking up whatever work a customer throws at them. They rely on the size of the market, and initially focus on increasing only their revenue, not market share. As the needs of the industry evolve and with external competition, these companies are unable offer specialized or high value products and lose market share over time.

A more focused approach to product selection brings several benefits to the company. By identifying your own competitive advantages, and focusing only on fighting battles that offer you a better chance of winning, you can capture a larger market share. Specializing in a few products that you can identify as your niche also allows you to cut out the noise. You can concentrate more resources per product, spend more time dealing with a limited set of problems, benefit from lesser diversity of equipment and tools and ease your work towards building a brand.

For e.g., Indigo entered the Indian aviation market and become profitable quicker as it was able to keep their costs lower by leasing only one type of aircraft, the Airbus A 320. This helped them train all their pilots, air hostesses, maintenance crew for only one aircraft and still switch to locations where demand was higher, keep lesser spare parts for maintenance and build on lessons from problems faced across their fleet.

Invest in your team (Education)

Big companies spend a lot of time and money in enhancing their employees’ capabilities. Trained employees perform the same work faster and better. Employees are also known to stick around longer if they see the possibility of growth (both financial and intellectual) in the company they work at.

The benefits of investing in your employees are two fold. They perform their tasks more efficiently and reduce wastage of resources. You also instil in them a sense of belonging and equip them to perform their jobs better.

Make Quality a habit

It goes without saying that quality is the main stay of competitive advantage. Unlike the protections that previous generations of entrepreneurs enjoyed, both geographical and political, today’s entrepreneurs are exposed to global competition from the first day and can only compete when their product speaks for itself. Improvements in quality helps a business have happy long lasting customers, referrals, brand value, reduced wastage and downtime, faster problem solving and higher efficiency.

Quality is ensured by creating systems and system driven processes. Using systems driven processes allow for each person to know their role and tasks and provide a ready reference for when exceptions are made. Your processes are more predictable and every employee become used to a no tolerance environment.

Invest in Data and information systems

“Data is the oil of the 21st Century”

-Gartner

The Companies of the 21st Century generate loads of untapped data. While a lot of this data is captured in paper form, it is mainly for record keeping purposes and not analyzed or acted upon.While Industry 4.0 has been heavily leveraged and adopted by large companies, smaller companies continue to function without any access to such technologies due to the heavy initial investments and low rate of production.

 

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Real Time SPC for SMEs

Qoti is the easiest and smartest solution that shows real time Statistical Process Control reports on a mobile screen.
Any process, any industry.

With inline SPC data in the hands of your inspectors, Qoti empowers them to take better decisions, faster.

For the Management

Qoti has a smart dashboard that graphically depicts how your operations are functioning. A quick glance is all you need.

It also send you a daily summary mail with the exceptions that occurred so you know exactly what to focus on.

For Quality Heads

The benefits of digital record keeping are best reaped by Quality Heads. Qoti allows you to remotely monitor all the processes, remotely.

You also get predictive alerts for process variations, notifications for delayed inspections and several more smart alerts to keep efficiency at the peak.

For Inspectors

Stop carrying paper and pen around, and switch to Qoti. We designed Qoti keeping the you in mind.

With alerts for upcoming inspections, a simple three step data entry flow, single handed data entry, Qoti speeds up data entry by almost 40% on average, giving you more time to take action.

For Maintenance

Our simple to use interface allows you to schedule periodic and preventive maintenance, and get notified in advance whenever they’re due.

In case there is a breakdown, interact with the product team within the app, and keep each other informed of updates.

Timed Inspections

In a pilot study, our client observed their inspectors spent ~30% less time on inspections. Direct savings.

Go Paperless

Are you still filling papers to document quality data? 
Go Green, Go Paperless.

Reduced scrap

With better process control, identifying problems earlier helps reduce scrap significantly.

कोटी - The Peak

Reach the heights of your production capabilities by running a fully controlled shop floor.

Global access

By leveraging the power of the cloud, decisions can be made sitting anywhere in the world.

Timely analysis

Identifying patterns as soon as they form, helps drive faster response to special causes of variance.

Vernier calliper measuring sandwich

INSTRUMENTS & GAUGES

Ensuring that instruments are calibrated and fit to use goes a long way in ensuring the accuracy of the data captured. In Qoti, you can restrict use of uncalibrated instruments, and get reminders when calibration is due.

machine-breakdowns

MACHINE BREAKDOWN

Machine breakdowns are chaotic moments. From communicating when it occurs, to seeing the status of repair, and approval for resuming production. Qoti captures the full breakdown communication and dynamically assigns responsibility where it's due.

Integrate Bluetooth Instruments for faster data entry

BLUETOOTH SUPPORT

We didn't just stop at a mobile phone. Qoti connects with all bluetooth enabled instruments, capturing accurate data at the click of a button.
With no manual data entry, you get unparalleled accuracy of data, along with costly man hours saved.

Testimonials

“We were extremely satisfied with how the team implemented the software. It’s easy to use, intuitive, and Askin's team proactively solved any queries or issues that came. Our management can take immediate decisions thanks to the dashboard provided.”
Karimuddin khan
CEO, WECPL
"Qoti brought a paradigm shift in our processes, a complete system driven solution for inspection has helped us reduce our rejections from the first month itself."
ca. ankur agarwal
MD, BAEPL
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