Supply Chain Quality Delights Customers

The foundation for profitability of any business is the quality of the product and/or service delivered

The other day, I ordered a print of the Beatles with Mohammad Ali.  I cleared a prominent space on my office wall to highlight this rare moment in history. On the day the print was delivered, I excitedly unwrapped this package only to realize the glass frame was cracked! You can imagine my disappointment. As I sit and stew over the empty wall, I wonder where in the supply chain there was a breakdown? This would never have passed inspection at the production facility.  So how or who is tracking quality upon departure? So to remove dissatisfied customers from the equation (like me), maybe its time we look at extending Total Quality Management to the entire supply chain.

No matter the output of goods or the number of customers a company has, the foundation for profitability of any business is the quality of the product and/or service delivered.  Case and point, my print mishap resulted in the company losing future business.  Now my incident is likely a drop in the bucket, but if this compounds over time significant revenue loss could occur. Quality Management is essential for business growth. In supply chains there are several steps that can be made to ensure Quality is a priority.

Traceability

Supply Chain Quality used for traceability means that the product can be monitored from the raw materials stage to the finished product arriving to the customer, ensuring the product or service is delivered as requested by the specifications. This covers how it was produced AND how it was handled and moved through the multitude of logistical processes. Advance Ship Notices (ASNs), used in conjunction with their e-COA (Electronic Certificate of Analysis), and batch records provide lot and serial number traceability, thereby allowing ways to confirm quality from the production site. But what about the logistics processes?

Logistics Processes

E-COAs incorporated with data input from Internet of Things (IoT) devices into a Supply Chain Quality Management solution on a Digital Supply Network, provides test results from production through customer delivery.  The combination of data ensures material quality meets customer specifications. This proactive analysis prevents having to scrap products and minimizes costly returns. Supply chain quality catches problems and traces them to their source and process before the products reach the customer. Not only are time and money saved on the delivery process, but a review of this data will improve product yield/quality to the customer and the asset utilization of material handling equipment through preventive maintenance. A Digital Supply Network offers finished goods COAs, statistical process control mechanisms, non-conformance and CAPA capabilities found in Total Quality Management to the customer so all trading partner participants (customers, suppliers, and logistics service providers)  can view the process themselves and be confident in the quality of the product.

Compliance Regulation

Compliance regulation is crucial in any supply chain to help lower quality risks and avoid costs from non-compliance penalties or customer complaints. It ensures transparency to the customer and builds trust in the brand on following regulations and delivering the product as promised. To help manage compliance, supply chain and quality management leaders organize material and shipment information with appropriate certifications. Alerts can also be set up to know well in advance if certifications are about to expire or deviations in material are occurring during the transportation process. Proactive supply chain quality systems help to prevent non-conformance and save monies while ensuring customer satisfaction.

Competitive Advantage

Incorporating supply chain quality beyond the manufacturing process provides significant competitive advantages to the customer and supplier. Quality starts with automated order placement. Each order is managed along the way with real-time track and trace source for location data; complex and detailed sensor data during delivery process for handling analysis; and documents for material specifications, material handling, and regulatory needs. The value created by constantly checking and improving on the production and supply chain logistics process flows through to the customer as they receive higher quality products.

Written by David Cahn – Global Director Marketing- Elemica