Controlling your Manufacturing Destiny

Picture of George Tewson
George Tewson


Mind Control

If you cannot control your destiny, then you are destined to fail. No one wants failure, failure is, well… a big fail, it’s expensive, embarrassing and worst of all its a massive waste of time. I hate wasting time, I hate losing money and I do not like being embarrassed. So How to we grab solutions by the balls and ensure that we are controlling our manufacturing destiny. 

Controlling the solutions:

In our previous blog posts, we discussed how we can find, implement and improve our manufacturing solutions. 

It can be found here:

Just Improve It!

But how do we ensure those improvements we found and implemented are sustainable. That’s where the final step in our DMAIC comes in:


We need to ensure we find a way to control the key X factor to ensure the new and improved Y is sustainable. 

The control phase aims to ensure that once the project team has left the project the improvements are self-sustaining. No outside influence should be required. It does not need to be babysat. 

We develop the control plan for three main areas of performance:

  1. Monitoring
  2. Controlling
  3. Regulating

The control plan is developed into a document or set of instructions that can be provided to an operator, line worker or manager to inform them when to leave the process alone and when to intervene. Also, if intervention is required it outlines what action to take. 

Control plans contain: 

  • The desired outcome of the process

What needs to be controlled- Relevant Y and the key X factors. 

Specifications, targets and the desired range.

  • Who regulates this process

We include the owners of the process.

  • When to take action

How feedback on actual performance is provided, how the measurement is made, how frequently and where is it recorded. 

  • Action to take

When and what action to take if any of the above parameters fall out of range or the tests fail. Additionally who is responsible and who takes action. 

It can even be presented as a form on the line. 

Work with the owners to update procedures:

Once a control plan has been developed, targets refined and understood then documented. It is the job of the project team to ensure that the plan is communicated correctly. 

Work with the process owners to ensure that the targets are recognised, ensure the process partners are empowered to raise concerns. This not only ensures that the process is owned, but an additional level of self-investment is obtained in the process by the operator. 

Implement and monitor the performance 

It would be simple to go back to old ways.

It’s easy to lose weight, then put it all back on overtime. We need to employ measuring and reporting procedures. Measure that data from the process and test for variation. Ensure that the process operator has the ability and the necessary support to pull that Andon. 

This not only empowers the employees and operators but also allows for a greater value in the product being produced. Measuring the outcome also allows you to set upper and lower control limits. This again allows the process to be stopped if the product falls out of specification.

Validation of financial impact

It’s at this stage, by measuring and analysing the implemented solutions, we can start to look at the potentially, most important aspect of the entire process. The financial benefit of process improvement. 

As we had a pre-project measure of failure, we can now gauge the improvements gained from our data and project the financial savings. 

DMAIC wrap up:

There are some key things to take from our information on the DMAIC systems. It’s a system that we use to constantly improve not only our process here at Merchsprout but when we conduct our assessments in China (or indeed globally) we look for these process improvement opportunities. 

If we do see opportunities for improvement then we ensure that we utilise this skill set. 

If you would like to get in touch with us here we are always willing to talk about how we can help you and your company.

The only 100% sure-fire way to ensure you are dealing with quality in Chinese factories is to have someone on the ground, on your side. Batting for your team. A team player who not only knows how to capture and report out but a player that can hold those suppliers to account in the event of quality issues.

Here at Merchsprout, we do just that, we offer you the ability to save time and money by doing the hard work for you. We offer several services that allow you to remotely oversee operations.

Source from China

If you want to learn more about how we do what we do and the services we offer, have a look here.

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