Improve data visibility and reduce human error with real-time quality assurance

The problem of human error in manufacturing…

Whilst the FMCG manufacturing industry is slowly moving towards full automation, including the use of autonomous robots and AI, human error still remains a common factor.

  • Are you suffering from the consequences of human error in your business?
  • Do you still set up production line machines manually, leaving yourselves open to the possibility of wrong date codes, wrong labels and incorrect packaging?
  • Is your company suffering the fallout, with batch rejections, product recalls, loss of customer confidence, not to mention the financial penalties, plus the cost of rework?

…and how to minimize the risk of human error occurring

Mistake-proofing or Poka-Yoke, a foundation tool in Lean Manufacturing, plays an important role in minimizing the risk of human error. The three primary approaches to error-proofing include:


  1. Prevention: modify the product or process to prevent any mistake or defect from happening in the first place
  2. Facilitation: make a process step easier to perform or less error-prone
  3. Detection: identify a mistake before further processing occurs


Poka yoke

Three key concepts in error-proofing (poka-yoke)

Here’s how error-proofing works with Harford:

We prevent mistakes:

  • by automating processes wherever possible, such as the direct setup of machinery, e.g date code printers, checkweighers, inspection devices
  • by capturing information directly from machines, devices, sensors, PLCs, OPC, etc, not only removing manual transcription errors, but also ensuring accurate data capture without loss, in real-time

We facilitate:

  • operational discipline by reminding operators when quality check need to be carried out, when machine adjustments are required, when stoppage reasons need assigning, and so on
  • standard work by providing clear, standardised and structured instructions, ensuring that operators have all information needed to follow prescribed processes using images and video for guidance

We detect:

  • non-conformances by verifying any data input against specifications and provide corrective action guidance when needed
  • defective and non-compliant product through automatic inspection, where possible, to minimise rejects and rework


Our approach to quality management is closely aligned with error-proofing principles, leading to a paperless factory where quality assurance and data visibility are built into manufacturing processes and are continually improved.


Poka-yoke and quality

Our approach to paperless quality management and its alignment with error-proofing (poka-yoke)

What are the benefits?

Happy customers! With properly controlled processes comes consistently high product quality, which in turn ensures satisfied customers and consumers, as well as protection for your own brand.

Quality circle

Data visibility! A high level of data visibility, using mobile devices and big screens across the factory, enables you to:

  1. React instantly to any non-conformance – catch mistakes as soon as they occur, before they continue through the process
  2. Focus on getting things right first time – be proactive instead of reactive. Less firefighting!
  3. Shift the blame culture – clear accountability leads to ownership of product quality at all levels

Cost savings! Better quality means fewer in-process rejects, less rework and protection from batch rejections at the retailer end, or worse, entire product withdrawals (EWP).

Quite simply, better visibility of data leads to better processes that produce less waste and have a positive impact on production cost, which leads to satisfied customers!

Our integrated approach to helping you

Increased data visibility and real-time quality assurance are just two components in our approach to helping manufacturers to reduce wastage and to improve performance. Have a look below!


Weight Control


We use automation to prevent non-conformances and reduce the cost of manufacturing at the same time We combine the benefits of Average Quantity Law with SPC and Process Capability, ensuring that optimum control can be achieved – even where high levels of variation exist in the process Automated, accurate, real-time information enables your team to make decisions where and when they are needed – based on facts, not opinions.

Live Reporting

Paperless Factory

 Short Interval Control

Making the right decisions at the right time has a huge impact on performance improvement, quality consistency, and customer satisfaction. Harford’s TrafficLights reporting tool visualises all relevant KPIs in real-time No more paperwork! Scheduled quality assurance checks with instant verification and corrective action advice to improve quality consistency, invoke right first time principles and provide a fully traceable audit trail Quick and focused reviews of performance data during the shift enable mid-course corrections and immediate small-scale fixes that collectively result in significant improvements in performance


Our mission is to help manufacturers manage riskreduce wastage and improve performance.


Trusted by our clients…

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