Quality Costs in the Factory of the Future


Winchell, William O.; Bolton, Caroline J.   (1988, ASQC)   Alfred University, Alfred, NY; General Motors Corporation, Lansing, MI

Annual Quality Congress, Dallas TX    Vol. 42    No. 0
QICID: 3510    May 1988    pp. 740-742
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Article Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to project how Quality Costs will be used in the "factory of the future." The concept of "factory of the future" is widely publicized as being a positive response to the challenge of off-shore producers. Quantum gains in productivity and quality are possible through this concept.

Characteristic of the "factory of the future" is the achievement of an integration of all functions in a company with a minimum use of humans. This includes product design, product fabrication and assembly, material handling, inventory management, cost control, and quality control.

Because of greater consistency in processing and ease of testing, the quality of the articles produced should be significantly higher. Benefits of this quality improvement will be apparent in reductions in material usage, rework, in-process inspection, and warranty. Increased versatility in the manufacturing process will virtually eliminate set-up, allowing lot sizes of as low as one to be processed. Inexpensive custom articles may be the competitive advantage over the mass produced goods of off-shore producers. These things, and others, will shorten lead times and make possible very little inventory.

The introduction of the "factory of the future" will not be a "revolutionary" event with the exception of a few widely publicized projects. Many companies are now pursuing the concept through implementation of "CIM," which is computer integrated manufacturing, on an "evolutionary" basis.

A major use of Quality Cost analysis techniques in a company making the "evolutionary" transition to the "factory of the future" is helping make the right decisions as to system integration. As a company becomes a de facto "factory of the future," prevention costs will become almost the exclusive controllable expense in the quality system. Appraisal effort will be part of the equipment and failure costs will be almost nonexistent. In this case, Quality Cost analysis techniques will be used to fine-tune the prevention effort.

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