HANOVER, GERMANY – AMREP Supplier Management Services’ senior executives today launched the company’s ‘Quality 4.0’ Manufacturing Quality Assurance Innovation unit at the CEBIT 2018 Innovation Festival in Hanover, Germany. The company has, for more than 30 years, been an internationally renowned creator of end-to-end Total Supplier Quality Management and Quality Assurance solutions for the world’s advanced manufacturers.
The Manufacturing Quality Assurance Innovation unit will be housed in the AMREP Technology Center. Its objective will be to develop quality management strategies for a Industry 4.0 world. ‘That’s to say, we’ll be revolutionalising current quality management practices to address production contexts which are automated and digitalized, where manufacturing processes are largely, even totally carried out by robotics, computer vision, and artificial intelligence,’ explained Kay Goh, a senior director who also conceptualised and founded the unit.
She went on further, ‘It’s often presumed that robotics and automation are the golden solutions to quality problems and product defects. The thinking is that ‘humans make errors, so if you remove the humans, then voila, you won’t have quality problems any more’. To us, while certainly robotics can significantly reduce, even remove the possibility of human-made errors, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have quality problems any more. Quality is a constant, ongoing consideration in whatever and however you produce. The most advanced technology, even with a zero margin of error, does not change that. What it does change is your quality management approach and quality control points.’
The unit will bring together specialists from a broad range of disciplines including manufacturing, quality management and information technology. Some areas they will look at are: automating inspection techniques, design for automated manufacturing, developing human-computer interaction methods to improve quality and production management decision making, and inventing enhanced data-driven quality management systems for digitalized production environments.
‘Changing production technologies necessitates changes in quality assurance and quality management practices. Let’s take a very simple example – a plastic figure that’s produced on a 3D printer. Where are your quality control points? Is it in the plastic filament that you’re feeding into the printer? The design of the figure? The actual mechanics of the printer? Or the way you’ve programmed the printer to print your design? In a conventional plastic manufacturing situation, you would be looking at factors like the quality of the material, the moulds, and the finishing processes.‘ Ms. Goh stated.
‘Quality management innovation has stagnated over the last 10 years. 20, 30 years since their development, we’re still talking Six Sigma, Lean, Kaizen and so on. As production environments rapidly transform, we urgently need to update these quality tools for Industry 4.0, as well as rethink the entire quality management discipline.’
Ms. Goh ended by issuing a clarion call to the manufacturing and quality management professions. ‘I’m calling for nothing short of a quality management revolution that has the same level of ambition, vision, and innovation when Dr. Joseph Juran, Walter A. Shewhart, and W. Edwards Deming first pioneered the Total Quality Management concept.’
AMREP Supplier Management Services develops innovative supplier management and quality manufacturing solutions for manufacturers to achieve zero-defect production. The company is the quality management partner to many of the world’s advanced manufacturing leaders and is also well known for its work in pioneering international quality management best practices in industrialising nations.