Three Pillars of Successful Manufacturing: Quality, Traceability and Efficiency

Posted by Annette Grotz on June 12, 2020

Three Pillars of Manufacturing Success Lead

Whether manufacturing is your main source of revenue or a division in your corporate structure, getting it right is imperative to your company’s success. So what does “getting it right” look like?

An engineering services company designing a product for the government may consider getting it right to be the ability to build or manufacture a high volume of units, as ordered by the agency approving of and desiring to purchase more of the engineered product.

A discrete manufacturer with a long-term contract may consider getting it right to be documentation reflecting the traceability of each part and source manufacturer.

Companies assembling products for both commercial clients and government agencies may consider getting it right to be the ability to digitalize a process, going completely paperless, to help operators focus on their job by removing paperwork distractions and ensuring the needed financial and contract compliance framework is followed.

Government Contracting Manufacturing Quality Pillar

Remember the Ford Motor Company’s slogan, “Quality is Job #1.” They debuted it in the 1980s when they launched their Total Quality Management (TQM) practices and kept it as their moto for the next 17 years. While there are numerous articles and case studies on Ford and it TQM practices,  a focus on quality is not an isolated practice. As this image from Smartsheet reveals, quality starts in the planning stages and to survive, must remain a focus across teams and the entire project lifecycle.

Three Pillars of Successful Manufacturing Chart

Aligning teams behind a quality commitment is no easy task. However, when cross-functional teams access the same single set of data that is securely housed and controlled by an integrated system, they make decisions based on facts that allow them to complete their jobs or processes in support of the overall strategic thinking.  The integrated system, among other things, should allow users to establish workflows and controls that help in “controlling variation and monitoring process to produce better deliverables,” regardless of their department.

The digitalization an integrated system provides improves the quality of communications. Conversations switch from version control and differing data to processes, improvements and customer satisfaction.

Government Contracting Manufacturing Traceability Pillar

Manufacturing for government contracts is not for the faint of heart. There are many layers of compliance regulations. While the finance team has been abiding by generally accepted accounting practices (GAAP) and Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) for years, projects, procurement, materials and operations teams may be new to the rigors of compliance requirements.

All teams need to know what the policies and procedures are to ensure contract compliance. Additionally, subcontractors, contingent workers and vendors should also be aware of the contract requirements.

One incredibly complex compliance rule is that of traceability. You can learn more about government contractor traceability requirements here.  In short, “The contractor should maintain documentation of traceability, or inspection, testing, and authentication when traceability cannot be established.”

Tracing parts from acquisition to disposal can quickly become a full-time job for someone using spreadsheets. Procurement and inventory or materials personnel have a better chance of doing their jobs well if they are digitally enabled to track parts in an integrated system. Additionally, a digitalized traceability system that includes compliance support helps teams maintain an audit-ready status. An audit-ready status helps prevent a contractor purchasing system review (CPSR) audit from derailing progress on a project.


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Government Contracting Manufacturing Efficiency Pillar

Discrete manufactures are challenged with the goal to “remain efficient down to lot size 1.” If efficiency relies heavily on standardization, however, how can you be efficient with a lot size of 1?  

Two elements that are proven to boost efficiency are digitalization and data.

Digitalization transformation has been occurring on shop floors throughout the world for years. Industry 4.0, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and smart factories involve the application of digital technology to manufacturing.

How and where the technology is applied varies greatly. However, the benefits tend to have one main theme, efficiency improvement. When digitalization is strategic and planned out prior to implementation, efficiency improvements are company-wide, from the shop floor to the top floor.

Digitalizing manufacturing helps eliminate paper processes, thereby reducing data entry and the potential for errors. With the information that was on paper now digitalized and in a shared system, the digital workflow improves efficiency by getting the right information to the right people at the right time. Teams throughout the company align around one set of real-time data. Information siloes are replaced with a secure system of shared information.  Collaboration takes on a much more strategic nature, focusing on what is happening and what is going to happen, not what happened.

The great part about digitalization is that it brings with it a wealth of data. Business intelligence tools that analyze this data with views pertinent to the roles of the users are critical in making the data valuable. The data analysis can pinpoint where bottlenecks are occurring, help users troubleshoot issues for quick resolution, and help ensure processes are being conducted within a compliant framework

Deltek Difference

Building on more than three decades of experience, Deltek Costpoint continues to earn the trust of manufacturers and their government customers. Costpoint Manufacturing provides integrated automation to eliminate non-value-add activities and meet quality, traceability and efficiency improvement needs, while supporting compliance requirements, all down to the project level. Watch a recent expert webinar that reviewed Integrating Manufacturing Systems.