5 Ways Digital QC Will Improve Decision Making and Profits

Originally published by the following source: SBC MagazineJanuary 10, 2020
by Evan Protexter with contributions by Kirk Grundahl


One of the main themes during the creation of Digital QC is if you don’t measure it, you cannot manage it. Digital QC will improve not only data accuracy, but also data availability. Here are five ways Digital QC will improve both data collection and the use of that data.

#1: Real-time data

Data is most useful when it is used for the purpose of making better-informed decisions. Typically, plants are looking back at quality metrics from the last quarter or year. This hampers a manager’s ability to determine if an immediate action should be taken. If data analysis is late, it is a distinct possibility that the value of the data later will be less meaningful and potentially costly. Verifying inspection frequency from week to week and quality trends can be easily noticed as they are occurring. Continuous improvement is easier to manage when assessing current conditions rather than a review of month old information.

#2: Ability to see trends

What are the common inspection themes found? Which machine(s) consistently has QC issues? Which line always has the same embedment problems? Is a given crew challenged with plate rotation? And so forth. Continuous improvement depends on knowledge will not happen, if QC issues are left uncorrected. For example, as the workload increases and fatigue enters into production what happens to plate positioning or rotation? Are the correct size plates being use or are larger plate substitutions happening? Another example is monitoring plate embedment performance after it has passed through the finish roller. If the top and bottom roller move out of tolerance or if one of the rollers wears down, embedment changes will show up. By watching these trends on a daily or weekly basis, managers can determine when these trends become action items. Continuous improvement is easier to manage using a current conditions assessment, instead of looking back at the percentage of past inspections with embedment gap.

#3: Truss joints can be marked and monitored for quality after leaving the plant

Digital QC opens the door to the possibility that inspections can occur not only after the truss goes through the finish roller, but also after it is shipped, after it is hoisted, and before closing in the building. By tracking which joints were QC’d in the plant, the component manufacturer (CM) can have the same joint inspected at multiple stages during construction with the use of a mobile device in the field. Doing so would help determine where in the construction process a quality problem has arisen. It is far easier to get everyone together on a job site when an issue happens, assess why and talk about proactive solutions early than when the building is nearing completion. Preventative and targeted problem solving and field training is hard to put a price tag on. Additionally, repairs may become a profit versus a cost center.

#4: Improved data quality

Data is most useful when it is accurate and easily available. By making data more accurate through Digital QC inspections, QC efforts and process improvement becomes more proactive than reactive. The ability for more inspections also helps to fill gaps in quality knowledge that CMs can benefit from. There is also less possibility for human error or influence on the data. Digital QC is an objective inspector that cannot have a personal opinion about the joint quality. The quality of the joint is determined based on measurements that can be reviewed, recreated and stimulate change in processes or procedures.

#5: Information is highly valuable

Useable information is valuable information. Benefits # 1-4 above help gather data and make it more available. Benefit # 5 is the great value that this data brings to quality management. By increasing the amount of data, the accuracy of the data and the availability of the data, inspection information can be used to make decisions that will ultimately result in better employee training, better preventative maintenance, change in manufacturing processes, reduction of errors and overall business profits.

This is the tip of the iceberg on the value of Digital QC. As this program continues to evolve, we look forward to gaining perspectives from all SBCA members, as our desire will always be to know about the value that this vehicle for continuous improvement can provide.

For more information on Digital QC, please look at the following sources:


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