V:Could you tell me a bit about quality control at the factory?
P:Well,there are four main quality control inspection points.We begin by visiting our suppliers to make sure we are happy with their quality control. Next, we inspect all goods in on arrival at our factory and the third inspection point is during production. And the final stage is chemical analysis of our finished goods.
V: And what do you look for at each of the four inspection points?
P:Well each stage is different. With our suppliers, for instance, we inspect their QC processes and, even more importantly,their factory hygiene. If we're not happy with
their hygiene,we'll cancel the supply contract. At the goods in stage we make sure that order quantities are correct and the quality is OK. We also check the transport packaging. If the packaging is damaged, the warehouse sheil-life can be reduced.
V: And what quality checks do you run during production?
P: We take samples to check there isn't too much cooking oil on the snack and that each snack has the minimum amount of flavouring. We also check the size of the snacks and their crispness. If the snacks are too oily, they go soft.
V:So that leaves the finished goods. What do you check for at the final QC stage?
P:We check individual bags to make sure that the packet weight is above the acceptable minimum and that the packet is sealed properly. We also check the taste.
V: And hou do you do that?
P: Well,we eat them .How else? We also do chemical analysis to check things like fat levels and other information that we have to put on the packets.
J=Jack K=Keith P=Pauline
J: Ok, so we all know there's a problem with reject levels, but before we look at ways of dealing with it, what i'd like to know is why don't we find the rejects sooner. How can they get all the way to the finished goods chemical analysis before we find them?Keith?
K: Well, Jack. The problem is the oil temperature in the cookes. It keeps falling or rising suddenly. And that's why the samples don't always pick up high fat levels. The problem is worse when demand is high and we're running at full capacity, well, like we are at the moment.
J: So what can we do about it?
K: Well I think the first idea on your memo is the best one. We should increase the sampling rate. You see, if we take samples more often, we'll pick up the rejects sooner.
P:That's ture, but if we do that, we'll need extra human resources in the QC department. I prefer the second idea. I'd rather just change the temperature sensors in the cookers.
K: We're already tried that, but is didn't make any difference. The problem is the oil in cookers. When if gets dirty the temperature sensors don't work properly.
P: So why don't we change the oil more often?
K: Well it would help, but we have to stop production to change the oil. We're going to lose production capacity if we stop the line more often. And the extra oil will increase our costs, of course.
J: Hmm. That's a point.
P: Yes,but if it reduces the reject levels, a bit of lost production won't be a problem.
K: It might not be a problem if we can reduce reject levels to zero, but i don't think that's possible.
J: OK let's try it anyway. Keith, I'd like you to change the oil more often and monitor the sensors. Pauline, I'd like you to increase the sampling rate by just 10 per cent. That means you won't need extra staff. Let's do that for the next two weeks and see what happens. OK?