5 Tips for Quality Assurance in Production and Logistics

In the context of Industry 4.0, modern companies in production and logistics work at a technically high level with sophisticated machines and systems. Only a well-organized and closely designed quality assurance in all areas of the company ensures you a successful business model.

Quality Assurance in Production and Logistics

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Quality assurance in the area of safety

Modern production facilities that operate according to Industry 4.0 standards are highly complex, digitally networked systems. This also includes the associated in-plant logistics. These diverse challenges are placed on modern machines and technical systems in the areas of manufacturing and logistics:

  • Flexible production processes

  • Customer-oriented small series and special requests

  • Modular production lines

  • Just in time deliveries

  • Efficient intralogistics solutions

  • Conservation of resources in the raw material and material warehouse

  • Ecologically sustainable production methods

Only by networking all plants and machines involved in the processes is it possible to implement the industry standard 4.0.

While production networks were inflexible isolated solutions in the past, modern plants in production and logistics now communicate via the Internet of Things (IoT) with control computers in the office, administration and sometimes even with external computers outside the company.

This has significantly increased the risk of open networks and the associated cyber attacks. In extreme cases, a successful attack on your company network can lead to a total production shutdown. The resulting production standstill leads to significant disadvantages in your business.

As part of quality assurance in your company, well-trained employees with extensive IT experience are an important factor for secure production processes. In this context, it is significant to keep pace with the rapid development in the area of cybercrime. Measures for permanent further training are essential to ensure uninterrupted quality assurance in the area of security in your company.

Quality assurance in the area of cleanliness

Clean workplaces and production facilities are one of the basic requirements for a modern and well-functioning company. In the context of quality assurance, tidy and cleaned work areas provide these benefits:

  • Reduced risk of accidents for employees

  • Improved working conditions due to tidy storage areas

  • Faster production because everything is neatly in place

  • Cost savings on renovation and cleaning work

  • Fewer customer complaints

One of the main goals in workplace cleanliness is to avoid dirt in the first place. Many contaminants in production and logistics enter the plant from outside. Here, well-cleaned access routes ensure less dirt. Indoors, regular maintenance and care of the equipment and machinery in production and logistics is crucial. Your quality management specifies the cycles in which cleaning and maintenance work is completed and then checks that it is carried out on schedule.

Moisture in production areas is in many cases a trigger for avoidable industrial accidents. Especially on floors, wetness and contamination pose a high risk for employees and moving logistics units. Already when entering or driving onto the production hall, make sure to create dry zones for people and machines.

Cleanliness and orderliness have top priority in the storage areas. The basic prerequisite is a storage system in which all stored goods have their fixed location, regardless of the operating mode of the warehouse, and are available at all times, well sorted, for the production processes. When organizing warehousing, care should therefore be taken at the same time to ensure that cleanliness is always guaranteed in the warehouse as part of quality assurance.

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Quality assurance in the area of traceability

The production of goods and commodities has become a complex process in the globally networked world. From raw material to finished product, the chain in manufacturing usually leads across several national borders and different companies. If a product is defective, the targeted traceability of the defect in the production chain is of decisive importance.

Here it is important to know the individual stations in the manufacturing process, i.e. it should be possible to determine at any time by whom, when and where the goods were obtained, manufactured, processed, stored, transported, consumed or disposed of.

As part of your company's quality assurance, it is therefore important to know about every single point in the supply chain. Against the background of possible product liability, without exact knowledge of all details, your company may be faced with high claims for damages in the worst case.

In tracing goods and commodities, a distinction is made between downstream and upstream tracing, also called downstream tracing and upstream tracing.

  • Downward: investigation from the producer to the consumer

  • Upwards: investigation from consumer to producer

By attaching lot or serial numbers, there is the option of precisely determining and later clearly identifying products. This makes it possible to accurately track the product throughout its life cycle. For your company, it is additionally crucial to know both the traceability within the supply chain and to be able to perform internal traceability in your plant at any time. Here, the documentation of all production steps is essential.

Quality assurance in the area of digitalization

In the age of Industry 4.0, the digitization of modern production and logistics companies is an inexorably advancing process. This involves the networking of all departments or companies involved in production, machines and technical systems. Only in this way is it possible to respond quickly to customer needs and to design production processes flexibly. Because increasing digitization also brings challenges, quality assurance in this area is of decisive importance.

To ensure quality in your company in connection with digitalization, all areas involved in production and logistics must be closely examined and optimized. This involves the areas:

  • Storage concepts

  • Transport systems

  • Machinery

  • Technical equipment

  • Conservation of resources

  • Efficient production

  • Extensibility of existing plants

It is important that, if possible, all systems can receive commands from the higher-level control units via real-time data tracking or data monitoring.

The employees in quality management also have the task of ensuring that your production and logistics facilities are always state-of-the-art. You will only be successful in the market if you succeed in meeting customer requirements promptly. In addition, the requirements of data protection must be observed. Another factor is to ensure the security of your production facilities. Advancing digitization requires the utmost attention with regard to cyber attacks via the Internet.

Qualitätssicherung im Bereich Zugriffsmöglichkeit

Production cycles are changing ever faster and require flexibility in meeting customer needs. This complicates planning in both production and intralogistics. Because the machines and production processes in Industry 4.0 are intelligently networked with each other, fast and targeted access to all system data is of the utmost importance. In this context, quality management ensures an optimal process within production and thus prevents downtime or idle time.

With Industry 4.0, the usual procedures in classic quality assurance are also changing in production and intralogistics. New quality assurance measures must therefore be taken in the following areas:

  • Production planning

  • Manufacturing process

  • Modification of production processes due to small series and customer requirements

  • Material order management

  • Supplier management

  • Process automationSustainability

Industry 4.0 requires open and consistently networked communication between all those involved in the production process and the real-time recording and feedback of all data over the life cycle of products and production systems.

The quality assurance required in this context is only possible with modern software solutions with efficient data processing and evaluation systems.

For example, automatic and early error detection and prevention is only possible if data analysis can be performed as far as possible in real time. In addition to highly developed software solutions for quality assurance, well-trained employees with a high level of qualification in the IT segment are required.

Conclusion

The demands on modern operations in the areas of production and logistics have grown significantly in recent years with the advent of Industry 4.0.

Customers expect flexible production of goods and demand ever shorter production cycles and the willingness to produce small batches and special designs. To meet these requirements in production operations, companies need comprehensive quality assurance in the areas of safety, cleanliness, traceability, digitization and access to all system data in real time.