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.

Zontec SPC Software is the Right Tool for Quality Engineers


Place the right tool in the hands of the right engineer

If you’re an engineer, you are trained to evaluate problems. You see ways to improve things and detest poor design. Frequently, you’re called upon to exceed where others have failed. Placing the right tools in your hands can literally change the world. 

SPC Software in the hands of a Quality Engineer

Henry Ford, not long after creating the River Rouge complex, had a problem with one of that plant’s larger generators. All of his best engineers looked at it and yet none of them could figure out what was wrong.

Tired of dealing with the decreased output in his factory, Ford called in General Electric engineer and mathematician Charles Steinmetz to take a look at it. Steinmetz arrived and asked only for a notebook, pencil, and something to sleep on. After two straight days of observing the generator, listening to it, and writing notes, he asked one of Ford’s engineers if he would bring Steinmetz a ladder and a ball-peen hammer. He leaned the ladder against the generator, climbed up, and lightly tapped on the side of the machine with the hammer. It began working perfectly.

Afterwards, Ford received a bill from Steinmetz for $10,000. Shocked at this figure, Ford asked the engineer to itemize the invoice. Steinmetz was happy to send it to Ford:


Tapping on generator: $1

Knowing which hammer to use, how hard to hit, and where to hit: $9,999


Get the right tool for the job

While you can draw several morals from this story, we’re concerned with the simplest one. Since most problems are not one size fits all, expecting solutions to be one size fits all is ridiculous. Having the right tool for the job is just as important as knowing which tool is the right one and how to use it.

If Steinmetz had chosen a sledgehammer instead of a ball-peen hammer, the results might  have been completely different. Could he have made a sledgehammer work just as well? Maybe. Engineers are incredibly smart people and he was one of the smartest. Was it the best way to accomplish that task though? Certainly not.



We’re here to help

Zontec is proud to offer the broadest suite of SPC software on the market. Our SynergySPC statistical process control software (SPC) products are able to meet the needs of any size organization from small shops all the way up to multi-national organizations. They are completely customizable to your individual needs.

Our team has helped companies all over the world, probably similar to yours, decide which SPC software product is the right one to help you reduce waste, improve quality, and boost profitability. With our 100% Investment Retention program, we are able to grow with you so you’ll always have a solution that delivers results for your company.

Contact us today about getting the right tool for the job when it comes to improving your processes.

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Use SynergySPC to Bring in New Business


Synergy Statistical Process Control (SPC) Software for Quality Engineers Helps Win New Business

Beyond immediate bragging rights about how much you’ve saved the company in reduced scrap, reduced man hours, and improved quality, some of our customers use our best in class SynergySPC products to win new business. Read more

Reduce Scrap, Rework, and Downtime with SPC Software

Reduce Scrap, Rework, and Downtime with SPC Software

Reduce Scrap, Rework, and Downtime with SPC SoftwareIn today’s competitive landscape, you need to leverage every quality management tool possible to help you gain and maintain an industry-leading edge. This is where statistical process control (SPC) software can empower your company to continually improve your processes to reduce scrap, rework, and downtime. You can rely on easy-to-use, real-time software to ensure that your processes stay in control which helps you deliver your product on time and within budget. Consider these success stories. When you are ready, we are happy to discuss your priorities and unique needs and share with you Read more

Do This When Evaluating Your Quality Program


Evaluating Your Quality Program

evaluating your quality programImagine this, you have a highly unpredictable and/or unstable process that causes you to lose tremendous amounts of money due to production errors and untold hours lost trying to assign a cause to the issues. On the other hand, maybe you’ve been at the quality game for a while and seemingly have a good system with an SPC software solution in place but you’re unsure if the technology is “current”.

It’s time to consider evaluating your quality program.

A good place to start evaluating is to assess your current or ideal quality program. Be aware of the tools and systems that are in place and support your quality program currently. For some, the answer can even be, “we don’t have any system or tools!”. This is fine.

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