What does CPG quality management mean for your manufacturing organization? Is it delivering products that withstand decades of use? Is it consistently producing healthy ingredients? Is it simply delivering on customer expectations without exception? Regardless of how your organization defines quality, its function has been a critical component to successful companies for decades. And while the prevailing definition of quality in manufacturing may have morphed over the years, delivering on the evolving expectations of your customer remains paramount.
Ultimately, CPG quality management is a requisite to compete today. In fact, we are seeing quality emerge as the unsung hero that can further differentiate companies from their peers. Great companies are driving all functions of their operations into a quality mindset. Striving for quality is imperative on the path to operational excellence.
3 Considerations When Approaching CPQ Quality Management
Over the years, Clarkston has led many clients through the challenges of maturing the quality organization. Clarkston’s seasoned quality and regulatory experts have successfully shepherded our clients through the most rigorous of audit environments. While many of our success stories come from the life sciences, our consumer products clients have faced similar (though perhaps less stringent) quality and regulatory imperatives. Given that the pressures to create assurances around quality and compliance will vary among CPG manufacturers, we have always recommended keeping a few important things in mind:
- All investments to strengthen quality processes and technology should be measured through the lens of risk; stated differently, investments in quality must be balanced against the risks they mitigate
- The fit of these investments is also driven by the context of your organization; fully understanding internal issues, external issues, and the expectations of all interested parties is critical
- Investments in quality should produce gains in process efficiency, mitigated exposure to risk, and ultimately a happy customer
An organization cannot simply focus on improvements to quality without a comprehensive plan. A sound plan should include a full assessment of current processes. Doing so will produce a clearer sense of where the opportunities to improve exist throughout your operations.
Clarkston’s assessment methodology delivers a full inventory of each activity’s start and end points, complete with inputs and outputs of the process. Using this information, we can then make targeted recommendations on possible controls and performance measurements to put in place at the process level. Ultimately, Clarkston’s recommendations focus on mitigating risks that directly affect customers, a proven approach that has served our clients with audit exposure to the FDA quite well over the years. A focus on improving quality at the process level will yield consistency and predictability in your results. Processes designed with risk reduction in mind will only further drive efficiency throughout the organization.
Frameworks to strengthen organizational processes, including those surrounding quality, have been around for decades. Implementing lasting CPG quality management within the enterprise, however, can prove quite challenging. Many organizations continue to struggle today to make meaningful strides in improving quality maturity. Equipped with the right guidance, the journey can be made easier. The first step is understanding where you are currently. Some questions to consider:
- Do you fully understand the expressed and unexpressed needs of your customers?
- Are the processes affecting customer satisfaction fully identified actively managed?
- Are the risks/opportunities related to both internal and external issues fully understood?
- Do all critical business processes have a named process owner, and do they have sufficient skills for the activities involved?
- Are processes in place to address issues that may negatively affect sustained organizational success?
- Does the documentation currently available to your executive leadership allow them to review cross-functional processes for opportunities to continually improve?
If you have answered no to one or more of the above, Clarkston can help you with laying out actionable next steps. Competitive advantage derived from CPG quality management can only be achieved if your processes are well understood, tightly integrated, and supported by technologies appropriate for your organization’s risk exposure.
Individual organizations can define quality very differently, but most understand that great quality practices create happy customers. However, are your organization’s quality practices built to ensure your happy customers stay? Clarkston Consulting brings decades of quality and regulatory experience to bear for our consumer products clients. We are equipped to guide your quality maturity journey, whether it be a review of your quality processes today, recommendations on actionable strategies to improve for tomorrow, or the implementation of technologies to monitor your success along the way. Don’t navigate next steps alone. Clarkston is here to help.