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Automation Must Include a Quality-Driven Mindset

By Thomas R Cutler

According to Jason Spera, CEO and Co-Founder, Aegis Software, a quality-driven mindset across every layer of an enterprise, strategically enhances process visibility and compliance to enable improvements in both cost and customer satisfaction.

In today’s customer-centered world, meeting the needs of customers is more demanding and business-critical than ever. Simultaneously, manufacturers struggle to reduce operating costs as margins compress and the competitive landscape intensifies.

This dichotomy and a pressure to “choose” between reducing costs and delighting customers is not mutually exclusive. Best-in-class manufacturers recognize there is no tradeoff; they take a holistic approach to quality management that allows them to excel in both arenas.

Automation is not a panacea

Jason Spera, CEO and Co-Founder of Aegis Software

Speara insists while reaching zero-defects and peak performance is important, manufacturers also need to reduce recalls, supply chain interruptions, and downtime to strategically adapt to demand fluctuation, rising expenses, labor issues, and other costly operational issues – all while complying with regulatory agencies.

Complying with regulatory requirements is a top pressure for 29% of discrete manufacturers. In order to “do it all”, manufacturers prioritize quality but not at the expense of feasibility and profitability.

The best-in-class approach

Spera insists that best-in-class manufacturers take a holistic look at how quality management fits into their wider manufacturing operations including automation. No longer is there a sole reliance on Quality Management System (QMS) technology. Instead, they have integrated a full range of QMS features into Manufacturing Execution System (MES) solutions.

Manufacturers must automate key quality processes

Finally, Spera has found that best-in-class manufacturers are also turning to QMS automation in order to standardize a framework for high quality manufacturing at a lower cost.

In fact, the best of the best-in-class are automating key manufacturing processes such as change control management, corrective action/preventive action (CAPA), audit management, dashboards, supplier quality ratings, advanced product quality planning (APQP), and more.

This level of automation leaves little room for error when it comes to manufacturing high-quality products and correcting defects. By using QMS functionality and technology, and applying it more broadly across the execution of manufacturing processes, these leaders further demonstrate the value of an integrated QMS+MES solution.

Automating the pillars of zero-defect quality

Spera urged that for manufacturers, the goal is to move from raw materials to finished, high-quality, zero-defect products in the least amount of time and with the greatest level of efficiency to achieve optimal levels of customer satisfaction.

Holistic quality management not only achieves cost savings; it also dramatically improves quality and customer satisfaction.

In fact, by leveraging embedded, comprehensive quality management capabilities, manufacturers can firewall, detect, identify, repair, and recover from defects found throughout the entire manufacturing process.

Extending those quality management capabilities with Administrative Quality Management – encompassed within an MES for maximum reach within the factory – enables enterprises to support continuous initiatives for improvement while also documenting this process for auditors and customers alike.

Furthermore, Administrative Quality Management can effortlessly enable digital automation to be instituted in place of labor-intensive, detailed manufacturing processes, such as those involved in material review boards, CAPA, and more.

Eliminating redundancies and errors, reducing product delays, simplifying compliance, and improving collaboration and decision-making can all coexist while delighting customers.

About the author: Thomas R. Cutler is the President and CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc., celebrating its 23rd year. Cutler is the founder of the Manufacturing Media Consortium including more than 9000 journalists, editors, and economists writing about trends in manufacturing, industry, material handling, and process improvement. TR Cutler, Inc. recently launched three new divisions focusing on Gen Z, the African manufacturing sector, and manufacturing in the entertainment sector. Cutler authors more than 1000 feature articles annually regarding the manufacturing sector. Over 5000 industry leaders follow Cutler on Twitter daily at @ThomasRCutler. Contact Cutler at

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