Universal Container & Packaging (UCP) develops and provides innovative packaging solutions for the computer and electronics industry, including design, testing, thermoforming, contract assembly and distribution. Based in Chino, California, the company operates out of a 307,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center, with round-the-clock customer care ensuring customer products are handled with efficiency and control. Many businesses talk about delivering quality to their customers, but at Universal Container & Packaging (UCP), it’s not an idle statement – it’s intrinsic to the company’s existence.
Steve Wardwell, Head of Quality, was determined to arm his team with the right tools to provide the highest level of quality possible. In 2012 when Wardwell joined UCP, the company was still relying heavily on paperwork for managing and reporting production data. Every job in the warehouse would leave a paper trail, originating with a quality check sheet, detailing specifics such as Customer, Job Number, and other relevant attributes. This paper would then travel from floor to supervisor to management, ultimately to be filed away. Inspection reports would then be generated on an Excel spreadsheet, using the copious amounts of written data. However, if there were any errors in the written data, it was a challenge to trace back to the original tick sheet and determine the source of the mistake
“We run our business on success metrics, so rapid and reliable data access and report generation are keys to our success. It may sound simplistic, but it’s significant in order to control and run the business, and reach the level of quality our customers deserve.”STEVE WARDWELL – HEAD of QUALITY
A cloud-based, real-time quality solution that integrated with the production environment
UCP implemented QCloud, a cloud-based, real-time management and reporting solution that provides audit-ready data and helps eliminate errors. UCP was already using Nulogy’s PackManager, an end-to-end execution system, which gave them full production control and integrated with QCloud. Upon implementation, UCP transcribed their quality check sheets into QCloud, and found that the solution made it easy to add the necessary attributes, such as PO number, quantity, and number of items inspected, to create a standard format for collecting data. With a quick and painless setup, QCloud was then deployed onto the production floor.
“If you can apply online for a credit card, you can use QCloud. It’s that simple.”
STEVE WARDWELL – HEAD of QUALITY
UCP experienced improved operational performance, speed-to-market, and customer service.
Faster inspection, faster speed-to-market
UCP’s Production Inspection team now has the ability to better monitor every job that is processed in the facility. The inspection process in receiving has been standardized so that every item arriving in the warehouse is assigned real-time data: purchase order, quantity, and number of items passing or failing inspection. The result improved UCP’s ability to histogram results on key performance indicators (such as Units Produced and Defective Parts Per Million) for trend analysis to share with suppliers. By analyzing the KPI performance over time, UCP was able to implement corrective action to make accuracy and efficiency improvements.
“We use QCloud to track every item in receiving to determine any key data that was regularly missing, and could slow down the process,” explains Wardwell. “QCloud enabled us to track, for example, when an item was arriving without a PO or other paperwork, which evolved into a “delivery requirement document’. We give that to all our suppliers and customers, and saw that their items spent a minimum amount of time in receiving and move into inventory quicker, for faster production cycles.”
Speed is crucial in the contract packaging industry and quick time-to-market that QCloud enables plays a large role in UCP’s success. UCP has calculated that a delay due to missing data could result in up to four man-hours before it is rectified. “That’s valuable time, for us and for our customers,” adds Wardwell.
Improved operational performance
QCloud has increased UCP’s operational performance in a number of areas, which the company has, in turn, used to improve service delivery to customers. Key areas include improved data integrity, and standardization in quality checks, failure descriptions, and reporting, which enabled UCP to handle more volume scalably. QCloud has also provided faster information flow due to saved records being available instantaneously via a real-time dashboard. Web accessibility allows multiple locations to analyze the same data disposition, including photos, to get materials back into process faster. In addition, records are secure, cloud-based, and comply with regulatory requirements.
Selling point for prospective customers
Most importantly, QCloud has given UCP the tools to build and augment a Quality Management System for its clients. Customers receive full transparency to the quality control process, due to UCP’s ability to do quality checks on a regular basis and pass on information in real-time. “QCloud has helped us pinpoint any possible problem areas so that we can prevent delays from happening. We can assure our customers that their product will flow in and out of our facility without compromising quality inspection or production,” says Warden.
“QCloud has become a selling point for prospective customers. They are always impressed by the ability to track production and quality in real-time, and keep our product moving. Our customer base has grown significantly over the last two years, and QCloud has been instrumental to that success.”
STEVE WARDWELL – HEAD of QUALITY