Manufacturing quality problems and alerts

By Staff

Manufacturing problems are not completely avoidable.

Engaging a contract manufacturer inevitably increases the complexity of communications in the supply chain.

To help OEMs and contract manufacturers manage manufacturing-related issues once production and direct fulfillment shipments are underway, it is best to put in place communication tools that keep all functional groups and parties on both sides involved and informed. Software applications can provide a terrific way of achieving this objective. However, one should never discount other seemingly simple, yet effective, alternative tools.

One of these tools is the manufacturing alert. Alerts are typically a structured document that is emailed to a specified list of recipients.

The manufacturing alert serves multiple purposes with the primary purpose of isolating issues and helping bring issues to the forefront and to resolution. Either the OEM or the contract manufacturer can issue manufacturing alerts – although it makes sense for the contract manufacturer, particularly the program manager, to take the primary responsibility of issuing and communicating a manufacturing alert across the supply chain. (See, also: Program management responsibilities and activities)

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Based on the severity of the manufacturing problem in the contract manufacturing facility, alerts can have varying stages, or levels, of importance such as stage one, stage two, or stage three – with the higher stage representing a more important issue with greater consequences if it is not resolved quickly. Naturally, the more severe an alert is, the higher up the executive supply chain the alert is communicated.

The most effective manufacturing alerts are concise and consistent with the type of information contained and the distribution parties involved. Typically, an adequate manufacturing alert should contain at least the following pieces of information:

1. Summary
The manufacturing alert begins with summarizing the issue or problem. This can include the product, or product family, test issues and type (i.e., high failure at functional test), an assessment of what may be causing the problem (i.e., failure possibly related to a parametric test step that powers the units beyond product limits) and, when the problem is expected to be resolved and how.

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