When it comes to quality control, continuous improvement plays a key role in industries striving for excellence. Here’s where the QC comes in.
This method, developed in Japan, has proven dramatically effective in boosting industrial processes and operations.
Let’s take a look at it in more detail.
What is QC Story?
At its core, QC Story —or Quality Control Story— is a systematic problem-solving approach that empowers organisations to identify, analyse, and rectify quality issues within their operations.
This structured problem-solving technique works by leveraging data analysis to drive quality improvements.
QC Story originated in the 1960s in Japan as part of the broader Total Quality Control (TQC) movement.
QC Story aims to address process inefficiencies by identifying their root causes and implementing corrective actions to eliminate or minimise them.
Why do we use QC Story?
For many reasons, one of them being that it promotes a culture of continuous improvement throughout the entire organisation.
QC Story brings a systematic approach to problem-solving, guiding teams to take action in a structured way. This means collaboration and cross-departmental participation go up, and wasting time and resources trying to figure out the next step goes down.
This method highlights the importance of data collection and analysis to inform the next steps. This helps your team make decisions based on real-time evidence and avoid guesswork. By using data, identifying patterns and correlations becomes easier and faster.
Because QC Story focuses on finding and addressing the root cause of the issue, organisations get permanent solutions to their problems. This proactive approach prevents recurring issues and reduces waste, enhancing product quality and customer satisfaction.
QC Story is mainly used to rectify and prevent process failures while enhancing decision-making. It’s typically used to:
- Resolve non-conformities and evaluate observations that do not align with set parameters
- Minimise variations that could potentially compromise the quality of your products
- Tackle problems at their source by implementing corrective and preventive actions
How many steps are in QC Story?
QC Story typically comprises eight key steps:
Identify the problem
The first step involves identifying the problem to fix. The issue should be clearly defined, specific, and measurable to facilitate effective problem-solving.
If there’s more than one problem, it’s essential to have a priority list to deal with each issue at the right time.
Observe the problem
In this step, take a cross-departmental approach to problem-solving and get as many relevant people involved as possible. This will give you different perspectives on the issue while fostering collaboration.
Analyse the cause
Before we go any further, it’s critical to note that you can classify your causes into three groups:
- Possible causes
- Probable causes
- Root causes
So, in this step, you collect relevant data to understand the cause of the problem. This data may include measurements, observations, customer feedback, or other relevant information.
Analyse your data using statistical tools and techniques to identify patterns, trends, and potential root causes of the problem. Some helpful tools are Pareto charts, scatter diagrams, and cause-and-effect diagrams.
Propose evidence-based action plans
Once you find the problems and what’s causing them, it’s time to sit down and come up with a strategic plan of action to fix these issues.
At this stage, you should define responsibilities, deadlines, and specific actions to solve the problem successfully.
Execute your plans
After planning comes the execution.
Make sure that responsibilities are clearly assigned and that everybody is properly trained to handle their duties.
Verify your results
Here’s where you do a quality control on your Quality Control Story.
Take your actions and measure them against the goals you defined in your plan of action.
If everything looks great, move ahead.
If you need to make adjustments, now is the time to do so.
Standardise your procedures
Once you know that your actions work, you need to develop standards to prevent the issue from happening again.
This process needs to be ongoing, as you’ll have to audit the measures in place regularly to make adjustments if needed.
Create a closing report
Everything you did to tackle this issue needs to be documented, labelled, and dated.
This report must include lessons learned, positive and negative, to inform your action plans in the future.
How to measure QC Story
There are many ways to check whether this approach worked or not.
Some of them are:
- The number of errors has gone down, meaning the issue has been dealt with successfully.
- Your KPIs are changing since you implemented the measures. If the problem you identified is causing a decline in production efficiency, when that production efficiency goes up is because your implementation of QC Story worked.
- The level of employee engagement with the problem-solving process.
- The cost-effectiveness derived from implementing your measures. This can come from reduced waste, minimised rework, and optimised processes
- Customer feedback
mlean® & QC Story
QC Story is a robust methodology that enables organisations to tackle quality issues systematically, drive continuous improvement, and enhance industrial processes.
Embracing QC Story empowers organisations to create a culture of quality, efficiency, and customer satisfaction, propelling them toward operational excellence in today’s competitive landscape.
But even better than QC Story is our mlean® Production System (mPS).
We developed this software to help you identify, fix, and prevent issues in your factories, connecting your workers and boosting your profitability.
Our mPS features many problem-solving methodologies, so you’ll always have the right tool at the right time.
Because everything is centralised and digitalised, you won’t have to worry about losing critical data or having to integrate it with other systems.
mlean® Production System helps you through all your industrial processes, such as:
- Standard work
- Shop floor management
- Start of production
- And many more
Our mPS isn’t just a tool. It’s a scalable business partner that connects your workers to your processes, improving your cost-effectiveness and letting you know what’s happening at all times.
Give us a try and see for yourself!