Release Notes: Standardized Quality

August 28, 2019

One of the most challenging aspects of supply chain management is consistency — especially across products that are manufactured in a wide range of locations and equipment.

Today we’re announcing features that raise the bar for quality standards across all custom-manufactured packaging and printed goods. What’s more, we’re doing it without compromising the flexibility or cost savings of networked manufacturing through Lumi.

Earlier this summer, we shared the release notes for Production Tracking, which gives you a single place to view activity related to any item you produce in any of the factories available through Lumi. Now, we are building on that foundation with several improvements that make your supply chain more reliable. Lumi now offers three big new features and services to improve quality standards:

  1. Standardized quality criteria
  2. Issue reporting and resolution
  3. Factory auditing and on-site quality control services

Let’s jump in!

Standardized quality criteria

One of our big goals at Lumi is standardizing and simplifying communications between brands and manufacturers. A few months ago, we talked about this with the release of our standardized definitions for Sustainability Properties. A similar challenge exists with manufacturing defects.

Custom manufacturing is as much an art as it is a science. Achieving the exact result you’re after is a bona fide relay race. Every production run is a series of handoffs between prepress technicians, plate makers, die makers, ink makers, material handlers, and press operators — and that’s all before it’s palletized or shipped! With every adjustment of a knob or switch, there’s a risk of inconsistency or defects. Factors like temperature and humidity increase that risk because they affect equipment and materials.

The Lumi Network spans thousands of factories across North America and Asia. As you might imagine, each factory and brand has different quality expectations. Standardizing the quality control process makes it easier for you to get consistent results even when you switch production between factories or start manufacturing in a new region.

Lumi has adopted Acceptable Quality Limit (AQL) as the quality control procedure used both for manufacturing and receiving goods. AQL is a standardized sampling procedure defined by the International Organization for Standardization in ISO 2859-1. We've also created a guide on how to run a quality inspection using the Acceptable Quality Limit (AQL) procedure. Most 3PLs and distribution centers are accustomed to this procedure, but the guide helps you establish best practices if you have not used AQL in your own location before.

To ensure that any defects are accurately identified, we are now publishing our standardized list of quality criteria and the tolerances for products in our Catalog.

Issue reporting and resolution

One of the big benefits of networked manufacturing is that our systems are constantly learning from every issue that is reported, and these improvements benefit all Lumi members.

You can report quality defects, no matter how minor, directly in the Lumi platform, with a new action available in your Production view.

Through this process, you will be helping identify inconsistencies in the network. The Lumi team will assist in resolving the issue and help refund or remake the defective units.

Factory auditing and on-site quality control services

Every factory available through Lumi is thoroughly vetted and continuously scored based on performance. This data helps us improve quality and value across the entire network. 

If your brand requires deeper audit data, or you simply would like to have more peace of mind in your factory choices, Lumi now offers Factory Auditing services. This can be especially useful when choosing manufacturers overseas. You can read about how MeUndies used Factory Auditing to choose Disney-certified factories for their Star Wars collaboration.

We’ve also opened up a new on-site Quality Control service if you would like Lumi assistance ensuring that a production run happens without a hitch. This service is available across all regions in the Lumi Network. As an example, Ollie used Lumi Quality Control to successfully produce their new injection-molded containers. We spoke to Ollie Senior Operations Manager, Nancy Walton, on the Well Made podcast about her experience.

All of these new things would not have been possible without the feedback of our awesome members and partners — so thank you! With these features in your back pocket, you now have greater input and visibility into the quality of your packaging. We’re so excited to continue pushing these capabilities forward.

Innovative brands use Lumi to manage scalable and sustainable packaging.

Learn more →