It’s important to understand how objectives in manufacturing — like improved quality— can be engineered through better data. This all starts by understanding the best manufacturing quality metrics and being able to discern which levers are responsible for moving the needle on this goal.

Quality is an essential part of OEE; which gets talked about a lot. In fact, I’ve discussed how quality can be improved in 3 ways, over and over.

The truth is that quality is just like availability and performance. It is all relative to the manufacturer and the goals that the particular manufacturer wants to achieve. 

For some, it is clearly a more meaningful factor than others. What’s more, some may even sacrifice aspects of their quality to improve things like performance and availability. But, the truth is that it is impossible to make these decisions without accurate data or a solid understanding of the metrics that matter most to manufacturing quality.

SensrTrx helps manufacturers understand and improve quality.

Metrics that Matter to Manufacturing Quality

So, what are the three metrics that matter most to manufacturing quality?

Well, beyond being the most important, let’s think about which metrics might be the most helpful to understand in the context of your plant floor.

1. Manufacturing Yield

Manufacturing yield is the percentage of something that is manufactured according to the manufacturer’s predetermined specifications in the original manufacturing process— without producing any scrap.

This is important for understanding the percentage of time that things are produced exactly how it is drawn up on the whiteboard.

Think about food manufacturing. How many boxes of cereal are lost in between? Or, if you’re filling bottles, how many bottles make it from the beginning of the line to actually packaged in a case? Are there breakage or other quality issues that happen along the way?

It’s important to have a real yield number that is consistent. Quality is an easy metric to improve. By objectively understanding yield and scrap rates, manufacturers can identify real improvements.

1.5 First Pass Yield

It may seem odd to list first pass yield as 1.5, but bear with us for just a moment. Really, first-pass yield is a subset of manufacturing yield.

Officially, “first-pass yield (also known as throughput yield) is defined as the number of units coming out of a process divided by the number of units going into that process over a specific period of time. Only good units with no rework or repairs are counted as coming out of an individual process.”

To put that definition in laments terms, how many parts have to run through the system before I get a good one?

 Sometimes, after a changeover, you may have to run for 5-1o minutes, producing bad parts, before the machine is fully up and running and able to produce the good parts.

2. Customer Returns

This is essentially the metric for understanding the percentage of products that the customer returns or rejects.

This could be because the product is outside of specifications, defective, or damaged.

This connects well with yield because if you’re a manufacturer with a really high positive manufacturing yield, but an abnormally high customer return rate, there is obviously some kind of disconnect with room for improvement.

Truthfully, the most important factor in comparing these two metrics is ensuring that the metrics are accurate to life; meaning that you are actually seeing the real numbers.

Often, the numbers will get fudged to achieve an industry-acceptable number. However, as things are looked at retroactively, it becomes clear there is a problem.

SensrTrx helps manufacturers understand and improve quality.

3. Supplier Quality

This is really the last variable in the equation.

Supplier quality looks at the number of goods coming from the supplier that reach the manufacture with an acceptable measure of quality. This means that these materials can be used effectively to produce the products.

Examples of measuring supplier quality specifically apply to metal manufacturers who use heat-treating or powder coating. Typically, you send that product out for heat treating. Does it come back with 100% quality or does it have issues?

Or, if you’re ordering components from suppliers around the globe, what percentage of those parts ordered is good?

This is the supplier quality rate. 

Manufacturing Metrics Line Up

It’s very easy to see how all of these metrics are essential to get a 3-D picture of manufacturing quality.

If your data is accurate, these metrics will paint a picture of where things may be breaking down in the chain. For example, if everything is presumably good until the customer receives the products, then the rejection rate jumps up you could begin to investigate that part of the chain.

Honestly, as we discussed above, the most important factor in all of these manufacturing metrics is understanding that the source of truth of this information is accurate.

Furthermore, it’s essential that this info is reviewed regularly or in real-time. This way, manufacturers don’t miss out on the opportunity to affect these issues before they become multi-month, systemic problems. In many cases, issues in this area will persist for years and years (and are known by those on the factory floor, but never raised to management).

If you’re not leveraging a manufacturing analytics application, it can be hard to understand all of these elements properly.

If you’d be interested in giving SensrTrx a closer look, you can do it here.

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3 Manufacturing Quality Metrics Everyone Should Know
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3 Manufacturing Quality Metrics Everyone Should Know
See the 3 most crucial manufacturing quality metrics that every manufacturer should know. How do yield, customer rejection rate, and more all work together?
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SensrTrx Manufacturing Analytics and Productivity