How Contract Manufacturers Leverage Neatness to Improve Product Quality
Written by Hans Dittmar
Lean principles and workplace organization methods like 5S are successful largely because of their focus on neatness. A lean operation is a clean operation, to be sure, but neatness has greater reach.
Neatness ultimately dictates product quality, if used to guide actions and outcomes on the shop floor and throughout the facility.
Neatness and Production
In assembly areas and on production lines, contract manufacturers that make neatness Job #1 positively influence product quality. Operators are working in an environment that promotes and supports:
- Efficiency in processes:
- It’s easier to find parts when they’re in the right place, and beneficial for the seamless transition of operators between shifts.
- Since there’s no guesswork, there are fewer errors and substantially less rework.
- Parts management is streamlined and costs are kept in check since components are less likely to be misplaced, or considered as out of stock.
- First In, First Out (FIFO) inventory rotation and similar methods rely on neatness and minimize spoilage and waste.
- Accuracy in assembly:
- Parts are clearly marked and maintained in the correct place.
- Discrepant materials (carrying either a rejected or unproven/unknown status) are clearly marked as such and physically segregated from inventory to prevent inadvertent use.
- Tools are routinely cleaned, calibrated, and properly stored to ensure consistent assembly across production runs and shifts.
The Bigger Picture
Cultivating a “neatness first” culture provides ongoing opportunities to engage employees and remind them of how everyone plays an important role in product quality.
For employees, having a safe, clean workplace:
- Improves overall morale and builds team pride.
- Reinforces habits that improve attention to detail.
- Inspires team members to do their best, and support others in doing the same.
- Results in better work, done more efficiently and cost-effectively.
On a related note, you can’t underestimate the impact neatness has on customers. A facility tour, tidy documentation, clean common areas, committed associates — it all adds up to favorable impressions.
Customers walk away:
- Knowing their projects are in capable, attentive hands.
- Understanding that the quality they see throughout a contract manufacturer’s operation will translate into product quality.
- Trusting the contract manufacturer and partnership.
It’s true: Neatness counts. GMI Solutions is deeply committed to ensuring every touchpoint in each of our facilities — from paperwork to products — is of the highest caliber and quality. Pride in our work and workplace paired with high-quality outcomes complement our expertise in high mix, low- to mid-volume production. Give us a call to discuss your needs or to arrange a facility tour to see how we walk the talk when it comes to running a clean, lean operation.