023 – Quality Control 4.0: A Way to Improve the Quality Performance and Engage Shop Floor Operators

Cláudia Silva, António Borges & José Magano
International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management (forthcoming)

Organizations must focus on increasingly complex and customized products and production processes integrated into technological and digital evolution. Thus, shop floor operators have a more significant number of complex tasks with responsibility for their quality control, looking for high productivity levels. However, there are human limitations to deal with the increased amount of information/data resulting from the integration of new technologies. As such, the main research objective is to answer the following research question “How can the combination of recent smart technologies with the human factor contribute to employees’ involvement at the shop floor level and thus improve quality control?”. This study follows a qualitative research approach by developing a singular case study in  CPMG PSA Group – Peugeot Citroën, where two innovative Information Technology (IT) projects were implemented following the continuous improvement methodology PDCA cycle. This work contributes to highlighting the human-centered approach in the discussion of Quality 4.0 development. The main theoretical contribution of this research is the identification of a set of key elements that should be present in the integration of the information technologies in quality control, namely: Prioritizing the quality problems supported by the fundamentals knowledge and tools of traditional Quality Management (QM); building multidisciplinary teams at different organization levels; following approaches that promote continuous improvement; developing the human-centered and user-friendly perspective; implementing solutions as directly as possible in the workstation; and finally, enabling an effective communication and motivation strategies. The projects presented may inspire other organizations to integrate information technologies solutions in quality control, following the implementation process and the essential elements described in these examples. Thus, this research stresses that one should customize these projects with the involvement of shop floor operators in a human-centered and user-friendly perspective, both at the preliminary and succeeding stages. This research presents two original and customized projects, bridging the technological perspective with the human factor in the digital transformation era, supporting the worker, not replacing it. 

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