The term Quality 4.0, like Industry 4.0, is vague and subject to a lot of hype.
Quality 4.0 refers to the increasing digitalization of Industry 4.0 and how, blended with traditional quality methods, workplaces are transforming.
Quality 4.0 is about aligning management and operations with emerging technologies to achieve excellence – or quality.
Quality 4.0 technologies
So, how is this achieved?
Quality 4.0 is not about banishing old practices.
It’s about keeping traditional quality practices and using analytics and digital connectivity to optimize these processes.
To benefit from Quality 4.0, existing processes must be efficient and centralized.
Real Quality 4.0 applications for businesses
There are many ways that Quality 4.0 can fit into your current quality management plans, for example:
- improving existing manufacturing processes through the use of new connectivity, data and analytics capabilities
- tracking supplier performance by launching manufacturing strategies with cloud capabilities, Big Data, machine learning and artificial intelligence
- quicker resolution, and reduction of, customer complaints by leveraging augmented reality and smart devices to gather information virtually in real time
- control over strategically aligned processes through Quality Management Software (QMS) providers delivering preconfigured (and configurable) solutions.
11 Quality 4.0 “axes”
LNS Research identifies eleven basic concepts and actionable recommendations – or “axes” – of Quality 4.0.
These key principles can help leaders take the first steps in adopting a Quality 4.0 approach.
Companies must use data to drive decision-making and to find ways to combine data from various systems to ensure accuracy and transparency.
Businesses should develop an analytics strategy after, or concurrently with, a data strategy.
Business information technology must connect with operational technology and enable data, processes and people to work together.
Leaders should look to leverage the transformative powers of connectivity, data and analytics through the adoption of Quality Management Software (QMS).
The potential of interactive apps, including wearables, augmented reality and virtual reality, must be harnessed.
Global scale, particularly cloud computing, is essential for scalability.
Leaders must assess their organization’s ability to support data volume, users, devices and analytics on a global scale in order to remove fragmented data sources and systems.
Processes and systems must be harmonized, automated and integrated to allow quality staff to shift focus from simply executing quality to innovating and improving it.
Companies should assess current compliance systems and strategies to identify where improvements can be made.
A company-wide (rather than just quality professionals) culture of quality can seem elusive, but the improved connectivity, visibility, insights and collaboration offered by Quality 4.0 can make it attainable.
Quality teams must realign their objectives to link to the organization’s strategic objectives to encourage corporate buy-in and instill ownership.
Technologies such as social media, machine learning and artificial intelligence, mashup apps, wearable and virtual reality should be leveraged to improve training and knowledge sharing.
Quality 4.0 for SMEs: first steps
So, your organization wants to develop an effective Quality 4.0 strategy. How do you begin?
The best starting point is to conduct a full assessment of your business. This involves two main steps:
- start by reviewing your business to see how it “performs” on the 11 axes of Quality 4.0
- determine potential uses of new technologies that could address weaknesses or deliver performance advantages across your business.
For many companies, long-standing quality issues and inefficiencies stem from fragmented data sources and systems.
Often, Quality 4.0 objectives depend on better, company-wide data management.
How isoTracker can help your organization adopt Quality 4.0
Digital quality management is one, straightforward way for small to medium manufacturing businesses to start realizing value from Industry 4.0 – and with isoTracker’s QMS, it’s easy and cost-effective to implement.
isoTracker offers modular, subscription-based quality management software that’s secure, cloud-based and affordable. It includes a document control module, as well as complaints management, audit management, and training modules, with built-in CAPA capabilities.