On-demand Reporting in Manufacturing – A Story of Faulty Batches

When companies rely on manufacturing and selling goods, they inevitably encounter faulty batches. In some cases, a product or two would be defective; in others, the whole batch will have a particular defect. Therefore, a lot of companies have a quality control team that checks each product before being approved and shipped out to customers or stores.

However, the problems aren’t always so easy to spot, and as you may know, in such cases, companies need to inform customers of the defects they’ve discovered, or they need to do a complete recall of the products from a faulty batch. Naturally, this process takes lots of time. Even something as simple as locating a specific branch or country’s quality control coordinator could sometimes prove problematic if the company’s documentation isn’t exhaustive enough.

A new encounter

Well, we had a similar case not too long ago. It was affecting several departments of a global company – manufacturing, quality control, and sales. In short, their data was all over the place. Additionally, branches in different countries stored their information differently, though they relied on Microsoft Excel and SharePoint to store and look up the necessary information. Very few people were familiar with all the countries’ processes, which made it harder to find substitutes at times. All in all, everything resulted in difficulties for the team members to locate what they need and, in some cases, even the simplest tasks could take a long time to process.

The first step in finding a solution was to thoroughly understand the client’s current setup and clarify what the system should actually look like. Naturally, some challenges arose pertaining to their data, specifically the fact that it contained many gaps and exceptions. So, our team decided to utilize not only the power of Qlik Sense for this project but also Qlik NPrinting. The former was used to build the app, which would serve as the visual dashboard providing a single source of truth, and the latter was used as an automated reporting tool. However, since the client had never worked with any other tool, apart from the Microsoft Suite, they weren’t sure what to expect or what to request even.

Thanks to our iterative development process, we managed to get the project going in the right direction. From there, it was only a matter of implementing new changes based on weekly feedback. For this project, our team went a step beyond and managed to take advantage of both Qlik Sense and NPrinting in a new way – implementing on-demand reports. This way, we could set up templates in NPrinting and allow any team member to extract the required information in the right template directly from Qlik Sense.

Reaping the benefits

But what does this all mean for the client? Well, let’s dive into the world of hypotheticals, shall we? Imagine that you’re working with medical centers that use a product of yours when doing brain surgery. At some point, you notice that a defect slipped past your QA team, so you need to recall that batch’s output. You’d just go to Qlik Sense and look for everything in one place – the batch number, the product IDs, and the medical centers they were shipped off to. Imagine that several of the products have gone to one country and the rest to another.

In Qlik Sense, you can find the necessary information, export it in a template suited to the corresponding country through NPrinting, and send the data off to the person in charge. All of this would take you several minutes. It’s easy to see how this could save you time in a crucial moment in a health-related field. Still, this solution could be applied to many other fields as well, for instance, the food industry or car manufacturing industry.

In the end, the app automated the client’s processes in quite an elegant manner. Where they were burdened with looking for data in several a few places, now they had an all-in-one solution at hand. Where they were struggling to keep documents in the same format, now they had software to export their data in a set template. And where before they had trouble with the newcomers’ induction, they now had an elegant app that smoothened out the experience. All in all, the client hasn’t shied away from expressing their gratitude towards our team’s efforts, and we look forward to the new and exciting ways we’ll be able to assist them in the future.

Author: Stiliyan Neychev