A quality management system is a systematic approach to managing the processes and practices that ensure that products and services meet certain standards of quality. By implementing a quality management system, operations managers in the mining industry can improve product consistency and increase customer satisfaction.
To illustrate how a quality management system might be implemented in a mine producing copper ore that wants to improve the grade of ore it supplies, consider the following examples:
- Identify quality standards: The first step in implementing a quality management system is to identify the standards that the organization wants to meet. In this case, the mine might identify a target grade for its copper ore based on industry standards and customer requirements.
- Establish processes: Once quality standards have been identified, operations managers should establish processes and procedures to ensure that these standards are met. This might involve setting up inspection points at different stages of the production process, implementing training programs for employees on how to identify and handle high-grade ore, or establishing communication channels with suppliers to ensure that only high-grade ore is being purchased.
- Monitor and measure performance: To ensure the success of the quality management system, operations managers should regularly monitor and measure performance against the established quality standards. This might involve collecting data on the grade of ore being produced, analyzing results, and identifying areas for improvement. For example, the mine might use data analytics to track the performance of its ore production process and identify trends or patterns that could be impacting the grade of ore being produced.
- Continuously improve: A quality management system should be an ongoing process of continuous improvement. Operations managers should regularly review and update processes and procedures to ensure that quality standards are being met and that the system is effective. This might involve implementing new technologies, revising processes, or identifying and addressing other opportunities for improvement.
- Involve employees: It is important to involve employees in the quality management process, as they are often the ones who are most directly involved in the production of products and services. This might involve training programs, employee suggestion programs, or other initiatives to encourage employee engagement. For example, the mine might establish a cross-functional team of employees from different departments to work together on identifying and addressing opportunities for improving the grade of ore being produced.
From the examples above, it becomes clear that what's needed to implement a successful digital quality control program is to measure data from various stages of the production process. Traditionally, this is done using paper logs or spreadsheets, however, the longer amount of time taken to process these forms of data means there is a lag between the production process and the analysis of the data.
Using a system like Grid, however, means that data is collected on an app (which works offline, and which accurately mirrors your company's existing processes) and can be viewed for analysis immediately. This might seem like a small benefit, but it's actually a game-changer since great quality control comes from the ability to modify your processes quickly, in response to quality data coming in - on average, a 60% improvement in the time it takes to get your data from the field to analysis, is a reasonable benefit to expect.
If you'd like to know more about how you can set Grid up to track and measure your quality data, why not speak to an expert?