“What’s your product quality like?”

A prospective customer has a product design and ask three different manufacturers, “What’s your product quality like?” The manufacturers respond:

Manufacturer 1: “It’s good. It’s really, really good.”

Manufacturer 2: “We’re proudly certified to ISO 9001:2015.”

Manufacturer 3: “We recently manufactured a product very similar to your design. We produced 99.99% of the finished product within tolerance and the largest distribution of quality was centered at the designed optimum. If you’d like to see the data, I’d be happy to pull it up for you right now.”

Which one do you think would get the work?

What is product quality? 

Product quality, most would say, is somewhat subjective. Depending on who you ask, you may get several different answers. A sales manager, who’s read a lot of Peter Drucker, might say the product quality is good if it sells and has few returns or complaints. A designer, focused on minimalist design, would define quality by how many parts it requires to achieve its end use. The end user, concerned with “fitness of use”, would say a product that performs as expected has good product quality . Each of these people would be right, but in the above scenario, there’s only one definition of product quality that matters – manufacturing quality

What is manufacturing quality? 

Manufacturing quality refers to how well a product meets the design specifications.

Assuming the customer knows what they’re doing when designing the product, their primary concern is manufacturing quality. Therefore, the manufacturer that can best demonstrate their ability to meet specifications should win the business. Let’s examine the responses of each of the three manufacturers and how the prospective customer would respond. 

Manufacturer 1: “It’s good. It’s really, really good.”

Manufacturer 1 is a lot like the job candidate who comes in for an interview but clearly hasn’t prepared. Hearing them say, “Trust me, I’m the best at what I do!” isn’t comforting on its own. Without hearing specific examples that support their claims, you wouldn’t be likely to hire that candidate for the job. By the same token, the prospective customer wouldn’t be likely to hire a manufacturer who gave this answer. When you’re hired to manufacture a product, the customer is placing a bet that you will successfully produce it. The more supporting information and proof you can give them that what you’re saying is true, the better. In the immortal words of W. Edwards Deming,

“In God we trust, all others must bring data.”

-W. Edwards Deming

Manufacturer 2: “We’re proudly certified to ISO 9001:2015.”

Manufacturer 2 is better prepared than the first because ISO 9001:2015 is an international set of quality manangement standards. An organization certified to this standard has passed an audit to verify they are following best practices and are credible.

ISO 9001:2015 developed from seven principles: customer focus, leadership, engagement of people, process approach, improvement, evidence-based decision making, and relationship management. This is an excellent framework for a manufacturer to improve quality but it doesn’t show to what degree a manufacturer produces quality. With over one million companies around the world certified to ISO 9001:2015, is it correct to say they all produce similar levels of quality products? No.

Just being certified does not mean you can win over a prospective customer. In some industries, most if not all manufacturers have achieved certification so it’s not really an advantage. Additionally, it is essentially a pass/fail certification. You are either ISO certified or not. It is a little bit like a medical school joke.

Q: What do you call a medical student that graduated at the bottom of the class?
A: Doctor

How do you choose between doctors with the same certification?  You use data. Let’s say you’re getting a complicated procedure, like open heart surgery. All things equal, knowing each doctor’s success and failure rates will help you make a better decision about which doctor to choose. Just knowing a doctor is certified isn’t enough.

Manufacturer 3: “We recently manufactured a product very similar to your design. We produced 99.99% of the finished product within tolerance and the largest distribution of quality was centered at the designed optimum. If you’d like to see the data, I’d be happy to pull it up for you right now.”

Manufacturer 3 came to play. Hard numbers that give information about how good they are at producing products to specifications goes beyond certification and gives the customer information on the degree to which you are able to produce quality products. This is an important piece of information for your prospective customer. It gives them the best possible information to make a decision. It is more important to them than anything else.

A Baseball Analogy

Your favorite team is in a bases loaded, bottom of the ninth situation. A hit wins the game. All other things being equal, which player would you rather see coming up to the plate:

  • your next door neighbor’s kid who says he can hit really well in the clutch
  • former Major League player Mario Mendoza
  • former Major League player and career batting average record holder Ty Cobb

Your next door neighbor’s kid is not the obvious choice here. He may have moxie, but he’s not a Major League player.

Mario Mendoza was a Major League player who had a career average of .215 (for the non-fans, out of every 1000 at bats, he got a hit 215 times). We know the degree to which he excels at hitting.

Ty Cobb holds Major League Baseball’s record for highest career batting average at .366. Like Mendoza, he is a Major League player, and we know the degree to which he excels at hitting.

All other things being equal, we can easily see which player would be more likely to produce the desired output: a hit. Knowing that, we would feel most confident in producing a hit if Ty Cobb was coming to the plate.  

Manufacturer 3 has really gone above and beyond to ensure confidence in their ability to produce quality. They give information about their quality when producing a similar product to the prospective customer’s. Information like this gives customers the necessary information to choose one manufacturer over another. In a world where many of your competitors still say “we know good quality when we see it”, having hard numbers that are as specific as possible to your prospective customer’s needs will make it easier to win new business.



In this scenario, manufacturer 3 is the obvious choice. They were the only one to produce proof that:

  • certifies them as a producer of high quality (which makes them a preferable choice to Manufacturer 1) 
  • says to what degree they produce high quality (which makes them a preferable choice to Manufacturer 2)

Manufacturer 3 has given the prospective customer the information needed to decide whether or not they want to award them the business.


Stop losing business to competitors who have better data about their quality! 

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We are the only SPC software provider to have solutions for all size businesses and in all industries. Find out more.


How Do I Know If I Have Quality Issues?

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When is the best time to improve quality?

This is kind of like asking when is the best time to check the batteries in your smoke detector (Hint: BEFORE there’s a fire). Likewise, the time to check for quality issues is before a significant safety concern/disaster happens. Once disaster strikes, you’re usually too busy putting out fires to work on prevention.

If you successfully avert a crisis, you’re quickly back to business as usual–HOPING that no quality issues come up to put your job and company’s future at risk. As we all know, hope is not a plan. Hope is a wish. Hope is crossing your fingers that no fires break out instead of paying a small amount for batteries, a smoke detector, and a fire extinguisher. Regardless of whether you just averted a crisis (lost a customer, failed an audit, or worse) or haven’t had one in a while, now is the perfect time to start asking questions about improving your quality.

The cost of poor quality gets higher every day.

Those who don’t take the time to look into improving their quality suffer predictable fates. No one, regardless of size or prestige, is immune to this risk. As an example, the U.S. Air Force found poor quality on six of seven Joint Stars aircraft built by contractor Northrop Grumman. Forget about the maintenance costs involved in getting the existing planes back up to required performance levels. The big story is that the Air Force is looking for replacement aircraft, which means that Northrop Grumman will have to compete side by side with competitors like Boeing and Lockheed Martin to keep the business they already won–all while trying to convince the Air Force that the quality issues they just had won’t happen again.

What is a reputation of impeccable quality worth?

Will Rogers once said, “It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute”. The cowboy actor was right. On paper, the cost of improving quality may be higher than the cost of doing nothing, especially if you haven’t had any recent quality problems. However, the risk is huge and the cost is high when you have a problem. Unfortunately, at that point it’s too late. You’ve either frustrated or possibly lost your customer.

Determining your strategy and putting a quality plan in place before it’s too late is your best option because nothing is more expensive than a lost reputation.


Learn more about SPC software and how it can help you improve and maintain your quality.

Synergy 3000

Corporate-Wide Statistical Process Control (SPC) Software That Allows You to Manage Facilities and Suppliers Globally

Synergy 3000 SPC Software real-time cloud SPC solution

Synergy 3000™ version 5.0  is Zontec’s most advanced SPC software system. Featuring a Microsoft SQL Server® database engine, it has been designed for global manufacturers who work with suppliers across the globe and want to utilize Windows networks, secure Web connections, and mobile devices in a cloud computing environment.

Synergy 3000 v 5.0 continues the Zontec longstanding tradition for high performance in fast-paced production environments with its responsive data collection, charting, enterprise-wide monitoring, query, lot traceability, analytical, reporting, Six Sigma problem-solving and decision-support capabilities. With the Synergy 3000 version 5.0, Zontec customers can now use tools, like our Scoreboard Report Card, automated Certificate of Analysis, and Cost of Analysis Report to instantly view data across their supply chain to make strategic, business intelligence decisions in a global, cloud computing environment.

Corporate-wide SPC with remote management typically generates some questions. Let us help you sort through.

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The quality industry’s first SPC application developed using Microsoft’s .NET™ computing platform, the Synergy 3000 SPC software ensures a future-ready IT path for universal connectivity, integrated and collaborating systems. And for businesses running SAP Business Suite applications, Synergy 3000 can extend the scope and value of your SAP implementation.

A company’s financial success depends on the power of collaborating, connecting and integrating all processes, whether it be a supplier or a customer. Synergy 3000 allows manufacturers to unite their internal production resources, OEMs, sub-tier suppliers and material vendors into centralized, performance-driven improvement teams that constantly document how they meet and exceed customer expectations through the superior reporting.

Managing Remote Locations and Suppliers’ SPC Data Real-Time Worldwide

Synergy 3000 Web Operating Data Entry Screen

Synergy 3000 Web Operating Data Entry Screen

Because corporations are operating globally, they need access to real-time SPC data on materials from remote locations and suppliers before it is shipped to their production location. Companies can realize tremendous benefits by empowering their suppliers to prevent errors from occurring, monitor processes from anywhere and enable manufacturers to view their SPC data in real-time before their materials are shipped. As you quickly and efficiently roll out Web applications to all your suppliers, you will see tremendous benefits.

Synergy 3000 is loaded with features and capabilities.
Download a brochure to see them all.

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Benefits for Suppliers by Using Web Applications

For example, for each supplier you will:
• Enable supplier operators to prevent errors before they occur
• Allow supplier managers to monitor processes from anywhere
• Empower supplier managers to manage costs
• Eliminate time and cost of supplier shipping replacement orders
• Avoid costs incurred by delays to customer

Benefits for Manufacturers by Suppliers Using Web Applications

Synergy 3000 Web Manager with Control Chart

Synergy 3000 Web Manager with Control Chart

As a corporation, you earn a faster ROI related to your investment by:
• Lower travel time and costs related to training and monitoring supplier personnel
• Notify supplier of out-of-specification materials before they are shipped to your location
• Reduce time spent on incoming inspections
• Eliminate production delays caused by out-of-specification materials
• Decrease time spent dealing with supplier issues
• Reduce scrap, rework, and product recalls
• Quicker introduction of new products
• Introduce complex products faster
• Preserve comprehensive data for customer traceability documentation
• Shorten on-the-spot conformance to requirements and quality prior to shipment
• Permanently retain all of suppliers’ data
• Worldwide view of your entire supply chain in real-time

“We began to use the Web Operator and the Web Manager applications with our sister companies in China and Bulgaria as well as with our main suppliers. Since using Synergy 3000, we have reduced our scrap rate by 20%,”said Fedele D’Alessandro of LMPsrl.

Synergy 3000 can reduce costs, improve quality, and streamline processes in revolutionary ways for your business. Best of all, training and implementation takes one day!

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Synergy 1000

Screen showing Zontec's Synergy 1000 SPC Software Statistical Process Control (SPC) in Real-Time

For a smaller or a mid-size manufacturer, the Synergy 1000™ version 9.0 SPC software allows you to take the data you are already collecting, and utilize it in real-time in a standalone or network implementation. Synergy 1000 is SPC software that combines data collection, charting, monitoring, analysis, communication, and reporting—all functions from a single screen.

Need help with deciding if SPC and SPC software is the right move for you?

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You can create files, enter data, create charts, query samples, and generate reports as fast as you can click a mouse. Synergy 1000 delivers blazing fast performance so your manufacturing team can instantly operate cooperatively making quality a proactive part of your business.

Synergy 1000 is logically designed with templates for rapid implementation. You can also customize your screen for multiple data entry methods. When it comes to sophisticated SPC calculations, Zontec wrote the book and built it in Synergy 1000. Standard with Synergy 1000 is a wide variety of charts and reports all available at the click of a mouse.

Want full information on Synergy 1000’s Cloud features and capabilities? Click below to download our brochure.

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Facilitating instant communication, Synergy 1000 is designed so that all this information can be viewed, previewed, printed, queued or emailed to the appropriate person. This provides for immediate communication and a reduction in errors.

The Synergy 1000 enables you to begin to monitor your business in real-time. While you are working to reduce scrap, to reduce rework, and to enhance user productivity, you can also be gathering valuable production information for future decisions. The Synergy 1000 helps you orchestrate your business, now and for the future.

“Our expected Return On Investment (ROI) for purchasing Synergy 1000 was $16,000,” said Roth Gonzales of Sahale Snacks. “We met our expectations.”

Synergy 2000 can give you a clear indication of process capability and stability in just two weeks.  

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Synergy 100

Synergy 100 SPC Software for Manufacturing Quality Control is Powerful and Affordable

A picture of Synergy 100 SPC Software running on a laptop

The Synergy 100 SPC Software is Zontec’s entry-level Statistical Process Control software designed for the single user. This fast, high value and cost-effective manufacturing quality software program enables you to quickly implement and realize the benefits of using SPC software.

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Organize your quality SPC data and easily create variable and attribute SPC control charts with Synergy 100 allowing you time to focus on actions that will improve your manufacturing process. This easy-to-use windows based software contains many of the same real-time features for variable data collection, charting, process traceability and gage connectivity found in our network and enterprise software. It is very easy to set up the program, create files, enter data, create charts, query samples, and generate reports in real-time. The analytics built into this software will even provide short run calculations. 

You’ll get instant feedback from the color-coded alarms and pop-up warnings for confident decisions and immediate corrective action to improve your process.

Synergy 100 SPC software comes complete with a user manual and help utility so you can find quick answers as you discover all the software features that give you control of your quality process.

Are you are a small or medium-sized manufacturer who wants to benefit from real-time quality data?


Do you want information about Synergy 100 data acquisition, charting, document management, customizable reports, real-time alarms and analytical tools?

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Synergy 100 SPC software captures your quality data in real-time so you can immediately improve your production process to reduce scrap, to reduce rework, and optimize man-hours to increase productivity. See a few of the Synergy 100 software program screenshots to get an idea how your quality analytics will improve and turn your data into knowledge. 

Ready to get started now with SPC Software and Synergy 100? You can order and instantly download here.