What is "Quality at the source?" Quality in the source means production process or end-to-end manufacturing processes that results in delivering products at top notch levels of quality throughout the supply chain. Quality in the source is defined as "a standard that controls the final value of goods or services" in a measurable way. In other words, it's about making every unit count. It is a standard of objectivity that drives business. In essence, quality at the source is a promise to customers that the product they purchase is of the highest possible quality and functionality.
Continuous improvement, or Lean Manufacturing, is a management philosophy that emphasizes eliminating sources of variation in costs, which in turn improves overall product and process performance. Lean focuses on eliminating or reducing sources of variability by improving process flow and eliminating non-value adding actions. This continuous improvement approach for quality at the source helps to ensure that products and services reach their intended purpose - useful to users at optimum levels of quality and with the lowest total cost. Lean principles and the underlying business rules of value creation have long been known for their ability to deliver value to organizations through a consistent and disciplined effort to eliminate waste and poor quality in the production and warehousing of goods and services.
Lean methods and data collected are used to reduce costs, shorten cycle times, enhance productivity, and prevent quality problems from developing in production or in warehouse operations. These methods are based on two primary premises: the concept that the customer is always right and that planned control is the best form of control. Lean concepts are designed to increase the throughput or rate of throughput, shorten cycle times, and prevent or eliminate waste; while optimizing cash flows and reducing inventories. Lean manufacturing strives to build flexibility, optimize resources, and continuously monitor and improve the performance of all aspects of manufacturing - from the manufacturing floor to the executive suite. The underlying logic of this system is that the ultimate goal of a manufacturing organization is to provide the greatest value to its customers, while building a strong and enduring organizational culture that is willing and able to support that value. Lean concepts and the associated processes enable this to happen.