The pandemic, the internet, supply chain issues, inflation–all of these are making competition among businesses fiercer than ever. And businesses know that their customers, clients, consumers–whether B2B or B2C–can look elsewhere for the goods and services they need and find them with just a few keystrokes.
Companies have little room for error. They must work as efficiently as possible to produce goods and services of the highest quality to meet their customers’ needs. That means ensuring their consumers that the quality assurance (QA) processes within their business are second to none. And being able to show their consumers that they have bona fides in the QA space–no matter how challenging for the company culture–is vital.
But who or what organizations provide compliance assurance to a company? How are those bona fides produced? How do companies keep abreast of market regulations? What are the quality standards followed by the companies, and who issues these standards? This article sheds some light on these questions.
What are examples of manufacturing companies?
Manufacturing in one form or another has existed since the first humans put clay together to form a piece of pottery. Manufacturing today is a highly evolved process, spanning the globe and often involving supplies moving from one continent to manufacturing facilities in various countries to assembly in a final country. And though its place has been usurped by the service industry, don’t be fooled. Manufacturing occupies an enormous niche in all countries’ GDP. In the US alone, 15% of the economic outputs are represented by manufacturing in different industries, spread across a diverse range of products and services that consumers purchase.
Some examples of manufacturing industries and companies are-
The US is the largest healthcare device manufacturer in the world. Companies like Abbot contribute to the sector with a market cap of USD 144 billion. It manufactures cardiovascular devices, pacemakers, heart valves, and more health monitoring devices. Medtronic, Baxter, and General Electric are other prominent healthcare manufacturing companies.
The US is home to the global tycoon in the world of pharmaceutical manufacturing – Johnson and Johnson. The company holds a market cap of USD 431.94 billion and manufactures medicine and body care products. Danaher, Pfizer Inc, and Amgen Inc are some of the additional top pharmaceutical manufacturers in the market.
The top US players in the automobile manufacturing market are General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, though the last has gone through a number of ownership changes. Together, these companies are called the Big Three because they are the largest auto manufacturers in the country.
The largest global aerospace manufacturing and design company – The Boeing Company — is based in the US. Other major aerospace manufacturing companies are Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky Aircraft, and Gulfstream Aerospace.
How do these companies use quality assurance?
The dominance of manufacturing companies in the business arena directly results from their power over developing, researching, and producing goods. A critical component of the manufacturing process is ensuring the quality of the delivered goods.
Quality assurance is promulgated by the Global Quality Management System or the GQMS. This system aims to provide a standard set of rules that the companies are willing to follow in order to have certified quality assurance. It provides a pathway for business concerns to assess the documents of the company, examine their manufacturing procedures, places verifiable standards on all manufacturing processes, and institutionalize and have access to all employees at all levels the policies the company adheres to that result in industry-standard quality certifications.
One such example of a quality management system is AS9100. Formulated for the aerospace industry, AS9100 certification is provided to a company that stands true to the quality management system’s security, technical, ethical, and quality regulations.
Like other quality management systems, the AS9100 certification has global recognition. It involves an audit that is crucial in deciding whether an aerospace company complies with the quality standards required in the industry. It provides a set of guidelines as a reference statement. The company can follow these guidelines to ensure that it covers all aspects of supply, manufacturing, and management QMS in order to achieve industry certification in AS9100.
The AS9100 audit observes the company’s ongoing work process. It uses these observations to compare the actual work process with the proposed work processes issued by the AS9100 standards. If the aerospace company meets the standards in AS9100, it has met all the requirements of its quality assurance tests and earns an AS9100 certificate. However, if the company’s processes differ even to the slightest details, then AS9100 recognizes that as a prone disregard to quality measures, and the company cannot be certified.
To keep the process transparent and non-biased, companies hire external examiners or third-party officers to perform the audit. These external parties are certified to carry out the audit. They take interviews, review documents, carry out on-ground processes, and ensure the quality of the manufacturing process and its end-products.
Quality management systems exist for many industries. and they work to the advantage of corporations that exist in highly regulated spaces, including the food, healthcare, and pharmaceutical manufacturing areas. In these fields, as in the aerospace industry, departures from quality processes can have consequences that are deadly to consumers and disastrous for businesses’ bottom lines. Boeing’s 737 Max debacle exemplifies this. In contrast, organizations that adhere to quality standards and are certified within their spaces inspire confidence from consumers and competitors alike, enhancing their brand and adding value to their products.
The certificates issued by the GQMS are visible globally and have impacts on national and international trade.
Assuring the quality of manufacturing output increases the company’s market image and sales, ultimately creating a better manufacturing system. Global quality standards require companies to reflect on their workflow and production processes. The audit systems for gaining quality certifications assess every detail and help to reduce flaws and streamline processes.
A manufacturing unit and a quality-compliant company must have a robust foundation that makes space for better production. I
In the era of globally aware consumers, any minor error in production can multiply its impact and cause a significant setback to a company’s overall manufacturing and business. Developing and maintaining quality processes through the rigor of ISO or AS certification ensures that companies adhere to important regulations and build the company goals around superior manufacturing processes and products.