Thermoformers are more aware than ever of their customers’ quest for quality. Mechanical engineers and designers are demanding that the thermoformed, vacuum formed, and pressure formed parts they order are manufactured by plastic forming companies that can provide quality with each and every part. It is not uncommon, for example, for a company that buys thermoformed plastic enclosures for their medical devices to have to meet the quality requirements mandated by governmental agencies, consumer agencies and other stakeholders. Meet the quality requirements or count us out is often the demand today.
These new standards cause thermoformers to re-examine their quality control methodology
in order to improve the quality their customers demand. The mantra often voiced within a thermoforming company that, “our parts have the same fine quality now as they did 15 years ago” falls on deaf ears today. Plastic forming companies have to understand that their quality processes need to be evaluated differently today because the quest for quality is now predicated not only on industry standards but also on the standards of their customers end users. So what was “fine” years ago might be totally unacceptable today.
Sadly, many custom plastic part suppliers view quality as the quality manager’s job because it is often viewed as the purview of the quality team and not as the objective of the manufacturing process. When the quality manager fails to approve a product, that rejection should serve as a signal that there is a flaw somewhere in the manufacturing process that needs to be corrected to satisfy the needs of the customer. The quest for quality should resonate throughout the company.
Years ago Ford Motor Company adopted a company-wide position that said “Quality is Job One”. The quest for quality is not a fad. It is not a momentary intrusion into the manufacturing process. It is not short lived. The quest for quality is really about the quest for a manufacturing company’s ability to survive in a new global economy.
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