The Role for Issue Management in Manufacturing

Manufacturing is complex. Designing, making and supporting a product is full of complex tasks with an inherent need for both record keeping and live information on issues.  This post will outline some of the common stages in manufacturing and show how an issue management tool – such as One Issue – can be utilised to speed communication and improve efficiency within your ISO 9001, ISO 14001 or TS 16949 environments.

The three common stages in manufacturing industry are:

Product Design and Release

In the product design realm, it is common to record several types of issues during the design and development process. A typical product design job may for example have:

  • Issues log – recording problems and risks anticipated or encountered in the design process
  • Change log – recording requested and approved changes made to design as it iterates over time
  • Development and test records – where problems are encountered and resolved during the product development, testing and certification process

In a CAD environment, the change log may be provided as part of the CAD solution but this will not be suitable for the more general issues log nor during the development process.  A modern issue management solution can cover all three areas with a common format suitable for use across both desktop and mobile devices.

Supply, Production and Logistics

The areas of potential use within this manufacturing stage are numerous, covering all key stages of supply and production. An issue management system can be applied within any of the following disciplines to enhance existing systems and procedures :

  • Quality – providing full trace-ability and immediate reporting with photographic evidence
  • Manufacturing engineering –  record process issues, open/closed status and problem resolution actions
  • Maintenance – asset issue reporting and repair history
  • Facilities management – mechanical, electrical and building service management
  • supplier assurance – defect reporting and issue sharing before goods-in inspection
  • Logistics – outbound and inbound issue reporting
  • Health & Safety – near miss and environmental logging

The key advantages provide by a modern solution are ease and immediacy of reporting – allowing line operatives and suppliers to raise issues fast and reduce the time lag between issue and fix.

Customer Support and End of Life

Managing customer and warranty issues, service records and end of life (EOL) records requires systems which are traceable and easy to use.  The opportunities to exploit an issue management system have been recently identified within:

  • Customer service and records – allowing customers to directly report issues and receive feedback
  • Customer care – providing retention tools and satisfaction feedback
  • Warranty and service records – in-field warranty reporting
  • Product life cycle and end of life (EOL) – process control and proof of disposal

The use of stand alone systems is still very common here – the advantages of a modern system with a mobile interface are in connecting customers and service agents – providing unique opportunities to engage and support.