Quality control is the name of the game when it comes to fabrication success—but your QC efforts won’t be nearly as fruitful as they could be unless you document your process in a fabrication quality control manual. Whether customers store goods, move materials, or provide access to workspaces and equipment, a quality control manual clearly spells out how a fabricator will meet their requirements while complying with regulations and keeping costs under control.
Why Fabrication Quality Control is Critical
In previous posts, we’ve gone into depth on why quality control is extremely important to fabrication projects. In brief, QC matters to fabricators for the following reasons:
- Safety: Fabrication products can be dangerous if they aren’t made correctly. Quality control ensures that your fabrication projects are up to code and will keep employees and materials safe.
- Compliance: Speaking of safety, fabrication quality control processes make sure that you are compliant with a variety of codes—including OSHA, ASME, and the American Welding Society—and avoid fines in the process.
- Cost control: Upholding safety standards through quality control will also save fabricators money in the long run. Injuries and noncompliance fees result in lost productivity and money, but the proper quality control will help you avoid these.
- Consistency: Having a standard quality control process means that the client’s expectations will be in line with the fabricator’s and also keep both parties accountable as they proceed in their fabrication partnership.
- Reputation: A fabricator’s reputation lives and dies on the quality of its products. Having a quality control process shows that your company is serious about quality and makes sure that your products live up to your promises.
What is a Fabrication QC Manual?
A fabrication quality control manual provides the perfect opportunity to standardize and document a manufacturer’s quality control processes. It states the organization’s intentions to produce high quality goods and/or services and details how its quality management system helps meet those goals.
On a high level, a QC manual will cover a company’s quality policy and goals and offer a detailed description of its quality control system, which may cover elements such as procedures, systems, staff roles and relationships, and any other resources that may impact the production process. For example, at Southern Metal Fabricators, we conducted an in-depth audit of our fabrication operations in order to create our QC manual. We ran down the list from safety to separation of materials to welding certifications—anything critical to safety or quality outcomes—and documented it in the manual.
Why a Fabrication QC Manual Matters
Creating a quality control manual is especially important for fabricators since our products are integral to key business activities, from storing grain in silos to carefully handling molten metal. Fabricators and their customers need to be confident that welds will hold and steel ladles will stand up to necessary temperatures. Quality control manuals assist with this by laying out what quality standards are to be expected and how these will be achieved.
Having a QC manual makes it easy to communicate with clients. A written document that clearly spells out all of your quality control processes means that you’re both on the same page. The most successful QC manuals will be very specific, especially when it comes to exacting processes such as welding. As a result, QC manuals dispel confusion and can preemptively address certain client questions.
QC manuals also signal to current and potential clients that your fabrication company takes quality control seriously and is looking to manufacture at the pro level. Having documentation shows that the fabricator is willing to be held accountable and committed to creating a quality product that will satisfy the customer’s requirements. Because of this, many potential customers specifically look for fabricators that have QC manuals in place during the sourcing process.
It’s critical to select a fabrication partner who has a dedicated quality control program, including a current QC manual. If you’re looking to partner with a full-service fabricator who already has a quality control process in place, contact Southern Metal Fabricators and give us a chance to say “Yes, we can do that!”