Q&A Blog Series: Using Analytics to Improve Quality-Consumer Products

May 21, 2013

By Sparta Editorial


How does poor data affect quality in your industry?

Consumer product companies collect billions of data points but have very little insight into how to use this data.  They are looking for a way to collect and analyze data to view trends in internal processes and production to make better business decisions but lack the tools needed to turn data into knowledge.

What problems arise in this type of situation?

The problem is that departments are dependent on limited IT resources to run huge data reports that need to be manually formatted and sorted using spreadsheets. It ends up being a generic report that is supplied on a scheduled basis that still needs to be formatted based on the needs of the user, which is time consuming and not all encompassing.

How can business intelligence and analytics solutions be used to address quality-related challenges?

By putting the power of business intelligence and analytics into the hands of users, they can identify risks related to quality issues and determine which have serious business consequences so they can proactively address and resolve issues. One way consumer product companies can do this is by analyzing trends with suppliers and outsourced vendors so they can drive sourcing and procurement efficiencies and reduce risk and adverse events in finished goods inventory. Quality issues in the production process can also be tracked to proactively trigger investigations to flag problems early on to prevent a product safety issue or recall that could tarnish the company’s brand and customer loyalty.

How can TrackWise Analytics be used to progress each role in the consumer products industry?

a. Quality Executives are concerned with the overall performance of the team and the effectiveness of quality processes. By implementing TrackWise Analytics alongside the TrackWise Enterprise Quality Management System (EQMS), they have the visibility across the enterprise to identify issues in the current process, whether it has to do with employee training or a quality process itself, and make necessary changes to reduce the risk and improve efficiencies.

b. Quality Managers are more hands-on when it comes to quality management and specific quality processes. In order to proactively manage these processes and educate people throughout the enterprise, it is important for them to have excellent analytical skills in order to filter key points and develop plans for process improvement. TrackWise Analytics helps streamline reporting efforts by offering analytics on-demand rather than requesting reports from IT personnel.  Now, predictions of issues can be quickly verified so steps can be taken to improve processes.

c. Quality Analysts also have a key role in establishing a consumer product company’s quality standards. Relying on industry benchmarks and experience to recommend quality-related best practices are instrumental in driving continuous improvement within the organization. Quality Analysts are very hands-on during the manufacturing process and often make recommendations on lot sampling and testing requirements to ensure product meets specification and quality requirements. TrackWise Analytics provides Quality Analysts the ability to automate standard procedures and monitor quality operations to ensure that quality standards and processes are maintained on-site and at other manufacturing locations.

d. Quality Data Consumers are looking for quality data that provides accuracy, relevancy and accessibility in a timely manner.  This data will depend on the needs of the data consumer. For example, there will be different analytic needs for plant managers, product managers and executive staff. TrackWise Analytics provides the flexibility to run reports against the data that is important for each data consumer. No longer will they need to sort through volumes of data to find what they are looking for. Reports are generated in minutes and can provide visibility into incidents or other quality processes so issues can be handled efficiently.

e. IT/System Owners no longer have to run a vast amount of reports for individuals and tie up valuable limited IT resources. With TrackWise Analytics, companies put the power of analytics in the hands of the users so they can analyze large volumes of data in an easy-to-use software tool to access the data needed to make well-informed, strategic business decisions.

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