How to implement your brand’s first QC scorecard

How to implement your brand’s first QC scorecard

Quality control scorecards provide an objective way to measure and grade your supply chain’s product quality. Here’s how this resource works.

In 2022, Abbott Labs faced a critical problem with its baby formula. Lax safety practices introduced bacterial contamination into the medical brand's supply chain.

After an FDA investigation, the brand voluntarily recalled all of the powder formula produced at its Sturgis, Michigan plant, sparking a nationwide formula shortage. The recall led to a $170 million drop in Q1 earnings for Abbott’s pediatric nutritional products.

Strict FDA requirements are in place to halt manufacturing if the pathogen returns. However, if Abbott Labs had been more proactive with its quality control processes, this problem would have been prevented before it became a problem in the first place.

A quality control scorecard identifies potential product issues early in the manufacturing process, allowing you to easily avoid future problems and uphold your brand's quality standards. Here's how you can build one that fits your company’s QC needs.

What is a quality control scorecard?

A quality control scorecard is a rubric for quality control analysts and factory inspectors to measure QC performance against industry standards. It tells every stakeholder precisely what to look for to identify quality gaps and successes.

QC scorecards create clear benchmarks and insights that identify ways to improve your manufacturing processes. This approach makes it easier to hold conversations about QC standards and ultimately improves customer satisfaction. With a pre-set evaluation process, scorecards help brands track key quality indicators, such as:

  • Durability: Ensuring products withstand wear and tear
  • Specification compliance: Verifying products meet established manufacturing guidelines
  • Manufacturing quality: Evaluating the precision of the manufacturing process to avoid defects
  • Product consistency: Eliminating variation between individual units

This structured approach allows for a consistent assessment every time, making it easier to ensure your brand manufactures a quality product.

4 reasons your brand needs a QC scorecard

You might have an exceptional quality control process, but you can only be sure if you have an effective assessment to measure it. A well-defined QC scorecard gives you a repeatable, actionable way to ensure your process is top-notch.

1. It allows you to identify and address top QC weaknesses

Quality control scorecards pinpoint weaknesses in existing QC processes, allowing your brand to build a roadmap for strategic improvements. By systematically evaluating key quality indicators, scorecards provide a comprehensive overview of how you manage quality.

For example, a brand could use their QC scorecard to evaluate their supply chain only to find one vendor uses subpar materials. Once the brand knows this is happening, they could address it with the vendor or find a new partner to boost the overall quality of their product.

2. It maintains QC standards over time

Scorecards establish a routine for monitoring operations, making it easier to maintain consistent standards and evolve as needed. By regularly tracking QC performance against industry standards, your brand can spot gaps or potential issues and take action before they get out of hand.

Atoms was scaling too fast for their quality standards to keep up. Their team was stretched thin, and adding a third-party QC vendor wasn’t enough to address rising product quality concerns. But after adding a specialized quality checklist and partnering with Factored Quality, they identified critical areas for improvement and continually iterated on customer feedback. As a result, they didn’t just maintain their QC standards; they increased it by 50%.

3. It boosts customer satisfaction and loyalty

Consistently delivering high-quality products fosters increased customer loyalty, driving repeat purchases and positive word-of-mouth referrals. By leveraging a quality control scorecard, your brand upholds quality standards and enhances the customer experience.

Freestyle built a customized QC Scorecard with the help of Factored Quality to ensure their baby care brand only sent out high-quality products. This allowed them to equip suppliers with pre-built checklists to best fulfill Freestyle’s needs. Reliable manufacturing partners and data-driven QC reports after every inspection enabled targeted QC improvements — leading to a 40% spike in product quality confidence.

4. It drives business growth

Scorecards position your brand for greater success with fewer quality risks and sustainable growth. Proactively spotting quality issues through scorecards prevents defective products from reaching customers, keeping your positive reputation and customer trust safe. With fewer returns and recalls, you can focus on driving innovation and expansion.

For example, using QC scorecards to catch and correct product defects earlier in manufacturing leads to fewer quality-related returns. As a result, brands have a more manageable inventory and significant cost savings to drive business growth.

What to expect from a quality control scorecard

A quality control scorecard unravels the finer details of your QC practices with focused questions based on key categories:

Industry knowledge

A comprehensive scorecard gauges your familiarity with common quality control challenges within your industry, ensuring your team is prepared to address them. By highlighting areas where your team may need more expertise, the scorecard helps focus training and development efforts to fill those gaps.

Addressing these gaps is essential for maintaining a competitive advantage and ensuring long-term success, whether staying up-to-date on regulatory changes or adopting best practices from industry leaders.

Ask yourself:

  • What factors drive brand loyalty in my industry?
  • Are there any industry regulations changing within the next year?
  • How do new compliance requirements affect my product?

Audit and compliance practices

Your quality scorecard reviews your compliance efforts to keep your operations meeting industry requirements. From inventory audits to supplier sourcing, the scorecard examines how your audit procedures mitigate risk throughout the supply chain.

Examining your brand's compliance with relevant regulations and standards helps avoid legal and reputational risks. Whether it's product safety regulations or environmental sustainability standards, maintaining compliance demonstrates your brand's commitment to responsible business practices.

Ask yourself:

  • When was the last time I ran an audit?
  • How often should I schedule each of my audits?
  • What else can you do to make your products more compliant with regulations?

Inspection and testing frequency

Evaluating the frequency and effectiveness of your brand's inspection and testing processes reinforces product safety and consistency. Regular inspections help maintain product integrity and identify issues before products reach customers.

With proactive detection, your brand can maintain high-quality standards throughout production, making addressing and preventing defects easier.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you use customized inspection checklists?
  • Do you update and iterate your checklists? If so, how often?

Vendor evaluation

By assessing your vendor evaluation, quality control scorecards ensure your vendors meet the quality standards contributing to your brand's success. A well-built scorecard provides a reliable method for reviewing every third-party partnership and seeing how it changes over time.

Analyzing your brand's suppliers reinforces consistency by ensuring they deliver acceptable materials. Practical vendor evaluation is essential for mitigating quality risks and ensuring product integrity from raw materials to finished goods.

Some questions to consider include:

  • How do you rate and evaluate your suppliers?
  • Do you use QC data to inform supplier scoring and find new suppliers?

How to implement a QC scorecard into your brand’s workflows

Onboarding a scorecard into your QC process requires clearly defined quality standards, creating a measurable baseline of what quality means for your products. With that knowledge in tow, your team can be prepared to use the scorecard and understand how it improves your products.

Get started with FQ’s quality scorecard

Once you have defined your quality expectations, your brand can use FQ’s quality scorecard to grade your existing processes. The process takes less than five minutes — all you have to do is answer targeted questions about how you approach quality control, from vendor relationships to inspection practices.

Your answers are gathered and compared to quality standards based on your industry and product type. As a result, your brand receives a grade for its current QC practices, ranging from best-in-class to below average.

Plan improvements for new QC standards

Once you have your grade, you can set up a meeting with FQ for in-depth and personalized analysis. FQ’s experts use your scorecard result to create customized insights that drive improvements in your product quality. With their recommendations, you can clearly see quality gaps where you should focus your attention. You’ll end up with a clear plan to update employee training and vendor onboarding to sustain any changes you make.

Continue to hone your processes over time

How you measure QC practices should evolve with each piece of customer feedback and every quality gap found. To stay proactive, schedule regular audits of your QC practices to identify any areas for refinement and keep clear records of the results.

Gathering insights from relevant stakeholders provides valuable perspectives on your quality control’s effectiveness. This feedback helps your brand address emerging quality challenges and incorporate new insights into your processes.

Get started today with our free QC scorecard

While you can certainly build your scorecard from scratch, Factored Quality’s free Quality Scorecard can save you valuable time and effort.

Our Quality Scorecard isn’t just another assessment tool. It’s a comprehensive resource designed by industry experts to review your QC practices and offer insights to enhance them. Expert recommendations tailored to your needs empower your brand to ensure product quality and improve over time.

Fill out the free quality scorecard today.

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