Age of Agile Manufacturing Puts Quality to the Test

Article

Christian, Peter H.; Zimmers, Emory W., Jr.   (1999, ASQ)   PHC Operations Consulting, Bethlehem, PA; Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA

Quality Progress    Vol. 32    No. 5
QICID: 13395    May 1999    pp. 45-51
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Article Abstract

Ongoing and unpredictable change should be met by quick reactions to customer demands. There are profit opportunities for those who apply agile manufacturing to the customization of products and services. Technological support for these changes is found, for example, in the embedding of information, electronics, and service within products. This allows agile manufacturing to be implemented by small companies and by companies that blur the line between industrial and service businesses. Quality must change, too, as it evolves from an emphasis on reliability and customer satisfaction to the new world of individualization and customer gratification. Quality tools for agility include quality function deployment and customer-supplier partnerships. Tools like six-sigma quality and statistical process control also are applicable, at least until they are replaced. For guidance in agile manufacturing, companies should monitor their direction, speed of progress, and competitiveness. Some companies will link themselves into agile interprises that bring an international and interactive quality to dealing with change. This article includes case studies on Kraft Foods and Hatfield Quality Meats.

Keywords

Quality tools,Product development,Lean manufacturing,Customization,Case study,Customer expectation


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